However, the more popular Genius Hour gets, the more how-to videos and lists appear online--which is awesome!! This means more and more kids around the world are getting a chance to learn more about their own interests, wonders and passions. But here is my wonder: does every Genius Hour project need to include research? Because I think that is sometimes the assumption out there--that kids pick a topic and/or question and then research (on the internet or using books/magazines from the library) and then present in some sort of way (a speech, a poster, a display for the school, a post online, etc). This is what a lot of sites/posts online seem to be saying anyway.
And yes, that is what many, many of my students have done in the past. But not all of them. Some don't do any "research" during their Genius Hour time. Some have used their time to create unique art projects where they explore using a variety of mediums and then share about that. Some have used their time to invent new sports and then shared an infomercial that taught the rest of the class how to play that new sport. And some have spent their time thinking up random acts of kindness initiatives because their passion was making people happy. All of these were fantastic Genius Hour projects in my eyes--but they didn't contain any traditional research--and I am totally OK with that! But after reading other people's descriptions of Genius Hour, I began to second guess what I was doing. Should I force my students to do "research" as well? I don't feel like that necessarily needs to be a part of a good Genius Hour project (because that doesn't leave room for the cool art projects, or the kid writing a book, etc, etc.)
And what is research anyway? Does research have to be done with a computer or a book? What about surveying people? That is a type of research too, so would that count for people? I guess ultimately we all create our own parameters for our students. But I am really curious about what others are doing...I am happy continuing Genius Hour the way I do it now. For me, it is important that the students truly be able to do what they are passionate about, and if that is a compassion-based project that has no research then I am super thrilled! No need for traditional research in every project, in my opinion. But if as student wants to do a research project then that is great too! I am happy with all projects.
What do you think? Does every Genius Hour project need to include traditional research?