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Genius Hour

Think back to when you were in school. In addition the the knowledge you gained from your classroom studies, wouldn’t it have been nice to be able to pick a topic about which you are really passionate, and learn as much as you could about it? I’m talking about something that really interested you, but you might not learn about during the regular course of study. This idea is exactly what “Genius Hour” is all about! In a world where education is dominated by standardized testing, data collection and quantitative spreadsheets; “Genius Hour” provides something entirely unobtainable in most school systems, except for Evansville Day School.

At Day School, a few classes, including my own 5th Grade, have decided that the importance of such an autonomous option is too important to disregard. “Genius Hour” gives me the opportunity to introduce to my fifth graders to an innovative way to learn about something that sparks real passion within them.

You might think, “How can a 10 or 11 year old feel passionate about anything?” Well based on first-hand experience working with this age group for two decades, I can proudly say, “You may be not be giving your child enough credit.” Students amaze me every year in the topics they choose. Some topics recently chosen include:

  • British cuisine

  • needlepoint

  • computer coding

  • microbiology

During “Genius Hour” students are their own teachers as they become “experts” in a specific field. They do this solely in school for one hour a week. Throughout the quarter, they research online, find books from all sorts of locations, even interview people who are involved with their chosen topic. Students then create a product they will share with their classmates at the end of the nine weeks. These products could be a physical item, a musical performance, or even a student led lesson where each student gets hands on experience in making something.

What I find most fascinating is that most of my students who have experienced  this program continue to seek out more information on their topic of choice, even after the presentation is complete. To me, “Genius Hour” is truly creating lifelong learners.

For more information about “Genius Hour”, visit

Eric Sogard
5th Grade Teacher