Passion Projects - Week 2

30 November 2013
We had our second Genius Hour on Friday, and it was another great hour in the classroom.  For Friday's class, students were asked to come with 2 inquiry questions and ideas for possible passion projects.  These two questions could be based on the same passion, or two different passions.  Friday would be the day they propose their ideas to me so I could approve one of them.

I had told my students earlier in the week to be prepared to wait and keep themselves busy during that hour.  I have 28 students in my class, so approving all the ideas meant I could only spend a short time with each student, and some students would be waiting until the end of class (for this reason, we started an art project in the morning that I knew would keep them busy if they were waiting for me).  I also handed out our second "Genius Hour" organizer at the beginning of the class so they could fill in their questions before they met with me, and continue on the sheet after they had a project approved.  To avoid the "Can I go next" questions, they knew I was going to draw names from our name jar.

Almost every student came prepared with their questions (a sure sign they were motivated by this project, as that's not always the case with homework in our room).  A few students wrote topics down, but not questions, so I had them go back to their seats and try to think of possible inquiry questions for their topic (I did have to help a couple of students).  A few students needed a little help deepening their questions (as they would have been simple "google search" answers) ... but we got there in the end.  Some students are still thinking about how to put together a project that will showcase their passion and inquiry question.  However, every single student came with ideas.  (Happy teacher moment).  I've uploaded our Class 2 handout to google docs - click HERE if you would like to grab a copy for yourself.

In the interests of sharing, these are the approved inquiry questions my students came up with.  (Note - some questions are definitely "deeper" than others, but allowing for differentiation and the different abilities of my students, the questions matched (or exceeded) my expectations perfectly.)
  • What kinds of foods are best to eat before dancing or exercise?
  • How do I make a go-cart?
  • What is everything I know about the NHL?
  • Why is family so important?  How can I document the importance of my family members?
  • What is an exoskeleton?  How do exoskeletons differ between different animals?
  • How could I create a cookbook on desserts?
  • What are the different events that make up gymnastics and when did it become a national sport?
  • What is the best dirt bike model?
  • How can I design my ideal bedroom?
  • How were medieval castle walls made?
  • How do you survive a wild animal attack?
  • What was the inspiration behind the Star Wars movies?
  • How does a hockey goal tender prepare for his hockey season?
  • Can you train a dog with a dog whistle?
  • Who are the Greek gods and how did they become gods?
  • How do you survive if lost in the wilderness?
  • What kinds of fish are caught in different seasons and different areas of Canada?
  • What is safe to eat in the woods?
  • How do I make doll clothes?
  • What major events happened in the 1920s?
  • What are the different kinds of race car courses?
  • What is the history of a bow and arrow?  How do I make one?
At the end of class, students had to complete another reflection sheet (they will do this at the end of every genius hour).  It is the same one I shared in my Genius Hour post from last week.  Their homework for the week is to discuss their ideas and project starts with their families, and come prepared with the materials they need to fully begin working on their projects next week (materials, research questions, plans, etc.)  

Happy Saturday!


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  2. I absolutely love this and want to try it with my kiddos as well!!! Thank you for this amazing idea!!!
    Curls and a Smile

  3. Love this idea! A teacher in my school does something similar every year and it makes ALL the kids so motivated! Can't wait to read more about how it works our for your students.

    The Math Maniac

  4. Definitely want to do this next year. I couple of years ago, I subbed in a room that was doing Passion Projects, the kids were so engaged. I'd always wondered how to get them started, thanks to you - I think I can do it!

  5. This looks AMAZING!! I can't wait to start this - maybe as the year unfolds and students begin to "check out"... !! Please keep posting your journey through this project!@!

  6. Wow! I love following your blog. So, I have started this in my class, however can you clarify what makes a good "inquiry" question? I've been looking online and been getting all sorts of different interpretations. Thanks!

  7. I have looked for Passion Projects and/or Genius Hour in your TpT store. Do you have items available beyond the one sheet linked above?

  8. Thanks for blogging! I love your joy for education and your products. I'm interested in starting a Genius Hour in my room this year. Could you give an update?

  9. Thank you for sharing!! I can't wait to start this in my third grade classroom.

  10. Genius hour sounds like a great idea! Your kids came up with good questions, too.

  11. Hi! I am curious about how this turned out! Are their any more posts about it?