Many boys in Genius Hour are interested in learning how to code using Java. Please use this Lib Guide to find some tutorials and other information about this programming language.
Category Archives: Grade 6
Last week, we began Genius Hour with the Grade 6 boys. Each boy brainstormed areas of interest to him, so this week is all about exploring possibilities. We set up six stations around the library for the boys to experiment, tinker, and explore – all in the name of more fully developing interesting ideas and points of curiosity.
The stations were:
- a microscope and slides of onion, leaves, and salt crystals
- K’nex sets for building structures and vehicles
- Snap Circuit kits for creating electric circuits
- Scratch, a coding tutorial from M.I.T.
- Instructables, a site with thousands of DIY tutorials
- Encycopedia Britannica, one of our favourite online resources for research
Each boy had to choose two stations to try out for the period: not surprisingly, the boys naturally gravitated towards the circuits and K’nex, but a number of them also had a good time trying out coding on Scratch or reading about the discovery of water on Mars on Britannica.
There are a few students who have pretty clear ideas of where their Genius Hour projects will take them, and next week those students can start to plan out their projects more fully. The rest of the students will have time to explore and experiment more as they refine their questions.
Today was the first day of Genius Hour for the Grade 6 classes! Last year we introduced the “20% time” concept to the boys instead of a more traditional library class, and it was very successful. By the end of the process we had a Greek mythology themed card game, a tutorial on sign language, a sports trivia game, several comic books, a couple of Rube Goldberg machines and a host of budding computer programmers.
The biggest stumbling block, however, was boys who started to flounder midway through their passion projects. There were a number of reasons for this, but we had a hunch that a lot of boys felt rushed into choosing a topic too early in the process, thereby running out of interest (and steam) as the process went on. This year we’re front-loading the initial stages by focusing a great deal on idea generation. Today we were brainstorming general ideas at first, and gradually each boy will refine his topic over the next few weeks.
Here are some snapshots of the boys’ ideas and thoughts today. We asked them to answer the following questions:
- What are your favorite topics to learn about?
- What do you spend your time daydreaming or thinking about?
- What do you spend your free time doing?
- Do you like to make things? What kind of things?
- What are you good at?
- What’s something you’d like to try?
There was lots of good discussion, and already some intriguing ideas are coming to the fore – check it out:
Attention Grade 6s! Here are the instructions for creating your “selfie video” for the Blueprint Project!
We’ve begun adding digital audiobooks to our library collection! Currently we only have a handful – mainly novels the boys study in Language Arts – but we will continue to build the collection as demand dictates.
If you are in Grade 6 or 7 and would like to try one of these digital audiobooks, the instructions can be found here