Sharing Genius: Students’ #GeniusHour Projects

Thursday, June 9, 20163:32 PM

As the end of the school year approaches, I can easily say that #GeniusHour was one of the projects I’m proudest of. My students investigated their passions with grit and curiosity, researched, wrote, and created products that they were proud of. Often, I’m proud of the work and want to share it. This time, many of them wanted to share it, too, and that was incredible rewarding. On their final blog posts and in their reflections, students demonstrated that they, too, understood the power of their work and were proud of their accomplishments.

Now it’s time to see what they learned and created. In this post, I will share my students’ genius. I’ve highlighted a handful of projects below, with links to their blogs and excerpts from some of the work. Find all 45 projects with all of the students’ work at Lauren’s project was featured here last month in Redesigning Learning Spaces.

For last year’s student products, read 1st Time #20Time: Sharing Student Products.

Then, find more of my recent writing on Genius Hour with What Students Think Part 1 and Part 2 or My Questions About #GeniusHour. To find all of my writing on #20Time and #GeniusHour, click here. For my students’ blogs and work, visit

Sharing Genius

The Infinite Hero by Emma

Emma wanted to learn about heroes and stories. What makes a good story? She investigated archetypes and the monomyth, reading all of the classic epic hero stories. Find Emma’s blog here and the start to her own original story in her project. Below is the presentation Emma shared in class about her research and creation.

In her blog, Emma wrote: “Our time for Genius Hour is almost up, and so my journey through the monomyth must come to a close. Looking back to the very beginning of Genius Hour, I have to admit I'm surprised. I started this project with no clue as to where it would end up. And now? I'm gearing up to write a novel.

Of course, the novel may never actually happen - in fact, it probably won't - but I have the feeling that the stuff I learned making just the plot overview was the real reward of Genius Hour.”

Effects of Physical Activity on Brain Health by Steven

Steven researched the effects of physical activity on brain health and did a tremendous job of sharing his work with authentic audiences. He surveyed students to learn about their ideas, conducted research, and then presented it to health classes in our school.

On his blog, Steven wrote: “I feel like my work was important for me because I learned just as much as I hope the students I present to will . . . I hope I helped you all learn that too.”

Find his presentation below.

Stereotypes of Heavy Metal by Eric

Eric likes heavy metal music. But he thought many people really didn’t understand it. To dispel preconceived notions, he researched the culture and history. He played selected songs for students and interviewed them about their reactions and thoughts. He then created videos of his interviews to compare and contrast to the research he found.

Eric wrote on his blog, “I am very proud of my work. While actually conducting the interviews was very easy and natural for me, I found that editing and turning the interviews into cohesive and well structured videos was difficult. I was happy that I was able to do this project on heavy metal. It is a topic that I have a great personal interest in and I'm glad I am able to share it with anyone who is interested. I hope I'm able to reach out to any heavy metal fans with this project. And I also hope to reach out to people who are not heavy metal fans. Enjoy.”

Sleep Deprivation in Teenagers by Melanie

Melanie chose a topic that’s important to many teenagers: sleep. She often complained about being too busy or tired but was quick to realize that the amount of sleep that teenagers get is a problem. She researched the problem and conducted her own action research, too, synthesizing her findings in a presentation.

Find Melanie’s blog here and her presentation below.

An Athlete’s Voice by Helen

Helen is an athlete. She plays on Ossining’s girls basketball team but had some complaints about sports clothing for women. She argued that female athletes are often criticized for their clothes but the bigger issue is that the fashion design world did not meet the community’s needs. She surveyed other athletes about athletic clothes and fashion design, researched the issue, and interviewed her team. Then, she created this slideshow and a video.

On her blog, Helen wrote: “I have grown so much with my topic and research. This project has also helped me better myself as a person. This project has gave me a big reality check though. Whenever you have an idea or plan about something you are really passionate about, you think of all these crazy ideas and things you can do to make your project the best it can be . . . Some parts of putting the video together were hard but in the end, I had a very strong project and I got my point across in a fun way.”

Genius Hour Fair

Check out the Genius Hour Fair at, which calls itself “an online showcase of Genius Hour projects open to classes and students aged 9 to 16 years old.” To end the school year, I’m going to have some of my students enter!

How do you showcase student work in your classroom? What products and projects are you most proud of? Share in the comments below or on Twitter.

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  1. Timely blog for us - we are looking to implement a genius hour next year in our district...which is why we have you coming to our TechCamp in August! Thanks for sharing, Adam! I am forwarding this to my staff as a teaser for when you visit us!

    1. Thanks, Matt! I look forward to learning and sharing with you and your staff. Appreciate the comment!