Last Wednesday we celebrated Science Week by holding our second Science Fair. It was rewarding to see so many students engaged in their experiments and having a great time. One group of students who shone academically were the Year 9 and 10 students.
Each one of these students undertook an independent investigation in which they had to plan and carry out on their own science experiment. They were required to be creative in coming up with ideas, collaborate with staff and other students and think critically to solve their problems. They had to plan their time carefully, use their literacy and numeracy skills and communicate to the public about their investigations.
The feedback from staff has been fantastic about the students work, many staff are expressing that they were wowed by diversity of the projects and how well the students were able to speak about their work. When surveyed the vast majority of the students have stated that they enjoyed their freedom of choice in their projects and they enjoyed carrying them out.
This is due to our introduction of the Genius Hour into our Science curriculum. The Genius Hour is based on a project introduced by Google. Google staff were given 20% of their time to work on whatever they wanted to. It is estimated that 50% of the innovations made by Google have been produced by this 20% of time given to staff. The assumed reason it works: motivation. We in the Science Department feel this is why there was such a high degree of motivation behind the projects and why the students were able to speak so well about their work.
Interestingly as well, the skills students needed to use to complete the project are the exact skills so many employers are calling out for.
As we enter into an era where our youth are likely to have multiple careers in jobs that haven’t been invented yet employers are looking for people who can be creative, critical, collaborative and have good communication, numeracy and literacy skills.
In the education world we often ask ourselves how do we prepare our youth for this kind of future. The answer just may be Genius Hour.
Mr Fred O'Leary - Acting Director of Science K-10