Genius Hour takes the school by storm

Since the first day English teacher Kelsey Habig first introduced Genius Hour to her seventh period class, it has taken the school by storm. InGenius Hour Infograph Genius Hour, students create something of their own. The idea is very broad, but the concept is very simple: Students are given one hour during the day to do what they love and be an individual instead of a student. Shark Tank, a pitch of the Genius Hour idea in front of a panel of judges or “sharks”, is just the first step in the process of Genius Hour.

“It is problem-solution oriented, [which is where students] go out and establish some kind of problem or need and work to solve those problems,” Habig said. “Through research and development, students find out the history of the problem, what roadblocks there are, and are guided by an expert or a mentor. Outside of that, there aren’t really any parameters and so you see a lot of diversity within the projects.”

The Genius Hour projects range from personal projects to exploratory projects. The first nine weeks is focused on research and development; however, students were recently asked to create an elevator pitch, a quick explanation of their projects equaling the same conversation time in an elevator. This year, Habig decided to improve the idea to a more intense level.

“This year [elevator pitches] were more formal and we emulated the show Shark Tank,” Habig said. “This idea was a halfway point for the actual project. Every kid went up and essentially gave the elevator pitch used from last year in front of a panel of ‘sharks’.”

Recently, a student from Habig’s class presented her Genius Hour in a way that changed the way she is learning in school. This student was influenced by her athletic involvement at school and decided to reduce the amount of athletic rosters produced by creating an app.

“Honestly [doing shark tank] was the best feeling ever,” junior Megan Walton said. “Being able to share something that you’re beyond passionate about gives me this unreal feeling. You can do whatever you want. There are no guidelines.”

McGrath v Habig