ImagineIT Spring Update

My ImagineIt was to incorporate genius hour (genius engineering) once a week within my 8th grade science curriculum. I currently teach one section of 8th grade science with 38 students including diverse learners. I want students to be involved in engineering challenges to help foster student collaboration and problem solving. I hope by incorporating genius hour students will feel empowered to take science beyond the sixty minutes they have science each day. Incorporating genius hour will hopefully impact students beyond my science class. My thought is that as my students take science beyond my class they will see science in their everyday lives and the world around them.

During the fall I worked on scaffolding the process of the engineering challenges so the students would get accustom to the actual stem design process. We worked on very simple projects because this particular class is a class of thirty -eight with a lot of different personalities. We needed to build a community of shared learning and mutual respect for ideas. The first few weeks were a struggle because I wasn’t sure what genius hour was supposed to look like in my classroom I only had a clear idea of what I wanted the end result to look like and what I wanted the students to experience.

To date we have completed multiple hands-on lab activities and roughly nine stem design challenges during Friday genius engineering hour. We were also able to compete in our first network STEM design challenge competition. My students did not place this year but the experience was amazing and definitely laid the foundation for next year’s competition.

My initial concern regarding buy in was put to rest when my principal accepted my proposal and paid for the 8th grade students to go to Six Flags Great America’s physics day. I was able to incorporate my regular curriculum as well as a roller coaster design challenge. I was starting to feel like I had bitten off more than I could handle but after watching the student progress independently with the hands on activities and the stem design challenges I realized that I was coming along in my goal. I just had to change the expectation in my mind of what it looked like.

Network 11 Stem Design Challenge

Elephant Toothpaste lab

Six Flags Great America Physics Day


Drop Zone Stem Design Challenge.