Elementary English Language Arts, Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Module, Unit of Study
Lower Elementary
  • #geniushour
  • Genius Hour
  • Living Things
  • geniushour
    Creative Commons Attribution
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    Education Standards

    First Grade Guided Genius Hour

    First Grade Guided Genius Hour


    This lesson plan revolves around Genius Hour. It is meant for K-2 grade to teach students how to learn about something using Genius Hour. This lesson requires the whole class to pick a question revolving around how living things survive. They will complete the research, creation, and presentation together as a class. This will allow students to be able to complete their own project using a different question. 


    Thumbnail Image Citation: Image created by Morgan Underwood, Image taken by Morgan Underwood 

    Lesson Plan

    Getting Started


    Name: Morgan UnderwoodShort Bio: This lesson is intended for first grade students to participate in Genius Hour. Students will first participate in Genius Hour together as a class before choosing their own topic.
    Grade Level/Subject: First, Reading/Science




    ISTE standard(s) for students covered in this unit:
    • 1.1 Empowered Learner
    • 1.3 Knowledge Constructor
    • 1.4 Innovative Designer
    • 1.6 Creative Communicator
    Create a mini-lesson plan for how you will introduce inquiry and select their Genius Hour question.
    • Introduction: Read aloud “What Do You Do With An Idea?”. Ask students what inquiry means. How did the characters show inquiry in this book?
    • I Do: Remind students of what they have learned about living things and their needs. Tell them we are going to make a list of questions we could ask on that topic. Start the first question for the students. For example, what happens if living things do not get what they need to survive?
    • We Do: Create a list of questions together revolving around the topic.
    • You Do: Have each student pick the question they would like to research as a class and write it down.
    • Closure: Reveal what topic the class voted to research, remind students that they will have the opportunity to create their own Genius Hour question after this unit.


    If you were doing your own Genius Hour project, what would your Genius Hour question be?
    • How can I help birds survive?




    Create your mini-lesson plan on how you intend to teach research and what databases and other resources your students will use. Be sure to include how you will hold students accountable for research during this time.
    • Introduction: Ask students if they know what research is. What are the rules of research. Make a list on the board that includes giving credit and using credible sources.
    • I Do: Introduce students to the different ways they can research. I included sources on Utah’s Online Library, like EBSCO. It might be helpful to create a document that has the appropriate links, like in the pictures below. On this same Seesaw assignment, I also included a way for students to track research information. The source box helped to keep them accountable and remind them to credit sources. Model using the sources to research our class question.
    • We Do: Have students work with you as you continue to research the question further. You can have students each on their own device, but copying the teacher.
    • You Do: Have students research the class question on their own. They should be keeping track of the things they learn on their worksheet.
    • Closure: Have students share what they learned with a partner or the class. If done on Seesaw, students can look at each others worksheets and leave them feedback online.


    How will you be checking in on your student’s progress? What will your daily/weekly exit ticket/stand-up meeting ask of your students?
    • I plan on checking on student progress daily using Seesaw. See the pictures below for an example. Students will need to report what they are working on each day and post a picture there. They will also complete a self assessment and make a new goal for the next day.


    Implementation and Presentations


    Make a rubric specifically for your student’s Genius Hour project.
    ResearchStudent developed a strong question and used more than one resource to research.Student developed a strong question and used at least one credible resource to research.Student developed a question and tried to research, but it may have not been a credible resource.Student did not research.
    CreateStudent used their research to create more than one of the following: presentation, invention, poster, etc.Student used their research to create a high quality presentation, invention, poster, etc.Student used their research to create a presentation, invention, poster, etc.Student did not create something.
    ShareStudent shared their work in more than one way.Student shared their work using a strong voice, high quality pictures, etc.Student shared their work, but did not used a quiet voice, unfinished work, etc.Student did not share their work.
    ISTE Standard for Educator 7a is “Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology”. How could you incorporate this into Genius Hour?
    • By using Seesaw, students will get to choose from a variety of different options for how they want to present/share their work. They can take a picture, make a video, record their voice, draw a picture, etc. The students can show their learning in so many ways.
    • Throughout researching and creating, students will be completing a little portfolio of their work. They can look back at what they have done to reflect and revise. Students also can get feedback from others on Seesaw and reflect on their work.


    Community Sharing


    Describe how your students will share their Genius Hour projects. Be sure to take your school/district’s social media and privacy guidelines into account.
    • Students will share their project using Seesaw. They will post their project to their account, which will share it with parents, other students, and teachers in the school. They will be able to get online feedback as well. I will allow each parent to decide whether they would like to share their child’s project outside of that. I will give them options of places they can share, along with some advice on privacy.


    How could you meet ISTE Standard for Educators Collaborator 4c “Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams, and students, locally and globally” with Genius Hour?
    • Students can engage with other students every step of the process with Genius Hour. They can research by talking to experts or other students. They can use advice from other students to get feedback and revise their project. They are getting perspectives from other cultures and environments, which can help them to expand their learning as well.