Media and Communications, Social Studies
Material Type:
Upper Elementary
  • Genius Hour
  • Lesson Plan
  • Research
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    Education Standards

    Genius Hour

    Genius Hour


    This lesson has been created to use with a 6th grade class. The format is a genius hour format. Students will be choosing a topic on a current event and researching that current event. They will create an infographic using Adobe Spark that shows the inforamation they found.

    The graphic for the cover page was created by Jean Robinson using Canva.


    This is a genius hour unit lesson plan that teachers and library media teachers can use for 6th grade students. The students will be learning about current events.

    • Time frame = 10-12 weeks if this is being taught in a once a week format by the library media teacher. This may be shortned if this will be taught by the teacher. Each lesson should have at least 45 minutes dedicated for teaching and learning.



    In this section, explain what teachers need to know before teaching this lesson. This is a great place to include articles, files, and web links that will help teachers research the topic covered in the lesson. Here are some sentence starters that might help you compose this section of your lesson:

    • To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of current events. Teachers will need to create a list of current events that 6th grade students can easily relate to and identify
    • Teachers will need to be familiar with Adobe Spark and how to create an infographic with this tool.
    • Teachers will need to be familiar with the following resources in Utah's Online Library for articles related to this lesson.


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Students will be given some general topics about current events that they can choose to research. The students will be introduced to a “see, think, and wonder” activity.
    Students will be asked to give a list of current events. If they are not familiar with any current events, then that will need to be addressed too. This is where the teacher can show a list of current events. That may spark more conversation about what topics are going on around them.

    Once they have chosen their current event, they will fill out a graphic organizer explaining what they see in the current event, what they think about the current event and what they wonder about the current event.
    When students have the graphic organizer filled out, they will need to develop a question for their topic. This is where the teacher can model questions for the students. Question examples could be, what about this current event makes you excited, happy, angry, or concerned? What do you want to know more about this current event?
    The teacher can help the students learn how to ask a question for researching their topic that is not a yes or no answer. This is likely the most difficult part of the lesson for the students. Some questions specific to current events may be, How can I become an involved citizen to help make changes? How do I solve this problem?


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    Students will need to become familiar with Adobe Spark and Utah's Online Library. They will need to know how to highlight and take notes from the databases within Utah's Online Libary.

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    IThere are many different topics that can be researched. Teachers will need to create a list of current events and have students choose one that the student is most interested in.
    Day one - Before research begins the book “Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex is a great place to begin explaining the differences between fact and fiction.
    Day two - Utah’s Online Library will be the first database location the students will be introduced to. Gale in context for elementary students and EBSCO Explora elementary are two good places to start within UOL. These two resources will need to be shown and topics can be briefly shown.
    Day three - Students will need to have a lesson on how to cite information correctly. The databases within UOL all have excellent resources for citations. This will be a good place to show students where the citations are located and what they mean to their research.
    Day four – show students how they will save highlights and notes within the different database options. Students in the Salt Lake District will need to be shown how to log into their Microsoft accounts so they will be able to save their notes and highlighted information.
    Day five – students will begin their research. They can take notes in a graphic organizer format or open a Microsoft Word document and create notes in Word.
    Day six – Students will be shown a stand-up meeting and practice meeting with classmates to discuss their topics. The stand-up meeting is best done in pairs.
    Day seven – continue researching the material. Notes can be in a bullet point style.
    Day eight – begin compiling the information to be shared using an infographic that is designed in Adobe Spark.
    Day nine – students will be shown how to create an infographic in Adobe Spark.
    Day ten – students will design their infographic. This may take 2 sessions.
    Day eleven – twelve students will present their infographics to the class. The teacher can post the infographics on their school website.


    ISTE standards met

    ISTE standard(s) Empowerd Learner 1.1.a Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes. 1.1.c Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. 

    Digital Citizen 1.2.c Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

    Knowledge Constructor 1.3.a  Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.1.3.b Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources. 1.3.d Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.