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Grade 5 Genius Hour

Calgary Science School
Grade 5 Team

Framework for Student Learning Graphic
The Grade 5s are excited to be starting Genius Hour this year! Every day 3 we will be dedicating 80 minutes to Genius Hour work, providing students with a voice in what they want to learn, promoting their passions and encouraging creativity. Students will be expected to be prepared and to use this time effectively.

Genius Hour is tightly linked with objectives outlined by Alberta Education in their document Framework for Student Learning:

Genius Hour will help develop life skills such as planning, teamwork, meeting timelines, and following through on commitments. This experience will inspire self-direction, pride and responsibility in each student.

To kick off Genius Hour students were shown several videos to spark Genius Hour thinking, collaboration, and actions. Our hope was to inspire our students prior to guiding them to formulate their inquiry questions about their passions and wonders during our weekly Genius Hour time.

Following the videos, students engaged in a gallery walk of ideas. Armed with sticky notes and a pencil, students moved around the room posting ideas about what they would like to:

- Learn About (like history or a place, or about water issues)
- Learn To Do (like computer skills)
- Learn to Make (like a trebuchet, or windmill)
- Learn to Create (like an art project or a story)
- Learn to Test (like a science experiment)
- Learn to Change (like an environmental project)

What about Science Fair?
While Genius Hour opens up all kinds of possibilities for student topics, students who wish to participate in the CSS School-Wide Science Fair will need to give careful consideration towards choosing a Science topic of interest that can be explored through an Experimental or Engineering project. Students who do not wish to participate in the CSS Science Fair can select any Science or Social Science topic of interest.

Grade 5 is the first year that students are able to take part in the Calgary Youth Science Fair (CYSF). This competition provides an additional incentive for our students to work hard and to present their best work, as entry to the CYSF is very limited. This is a wonderful opportunity for those students who produce the highest quality work, as there are numerous prizes that can be won. The CYSF occurs mid April and participants are selected by the judges at the CSS School-Wide Science Fair. Additional information including helpful science fair hints and tips can be found at the CYSF website at

For Science Fair students, some additional information and templates will be provided. While our Genius Hour format will allow for a variety of final presentation products, including written reports, iMovies, dioramas or models, PowerPoint/Keynote Presentations, etc., students wishing to participate in the CSS School-Wide Science Fair will be required to have a tri-fold.

We are looking forward to the all the ingenuity and creativity of our students!

Genius Hour Resources: (this inspired most of our work in Grade 5)

Framework for Student Learning Graphic. retrieved November 7, 2013 from:
Steven Johnson (2011, June 28) Where Good Ideas Come From. Retrieved from
Fablevision (2011, July 11). Above and Beyond. Retrieved from
Derek Sivers (2010, September 17) Obvious to you. Amazing to others. Retrieved from:


Garry McKinnon said...

Connect Charter School Grade 5 Team;

I appreciate your emphasis on giving your students an active role in pursuing their passion as learners through focused inquiry based on the Alberta Education Framework for Student Learning. The video clips and Genius Hour resources effectively promote creativity and serve as excellent models and motivators. You also provide through your blog, some very good ideas for your teacher colleagues to explore. I like the process of having a "gallery walk of ideas". I have enjoyed opportunities to informally interact with your students in the hallways and in the classrooms as they explore their Genius Hour areas of interest and I have been so impressed with their enthusiasm and their high level of engagement as learners.

Scott Petronech said...

Hello Grade 5,

Your willingness to provide students with their own voice has provided them with a tremendous amount of engagement. The buy-in these students have is amazing! It is always exciting to see them working on these projects throughout the entire school. This speaks not only to how special our students are, but the motivation, creativity and enthusiasm of our teachers. You are modelling some wonderful traits and attributes in your classrooms.

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