Almost three years ago, teachers in the lower school introduced the concept of Genius Time to third and fourth graders. For about 45 minutes each week, the children are allowed to follow their passions and research a subject that interests them. Children reported about whales and digestive systems and planets. This year we tried to open up Genius Time projects a bit, moving away from the more traditional research projects and encouraging social service projects that impacted the community as well as open-ended investigations, focusing on process as much as product. We encouraged the kids to think big. Some of the third graders decided that they wanted to build robots to help the community in ways such as picking up trash.
With the wonderful help of the Maker Space Program Coordinator and students from the Robotics Club, Kyle Spawn and Brent Calabresi, the kids are proficiently working with drills and safely glasses and nuts and bolts. It has been a terrific learning experience: the kids feel so capable and adept. They look forward to their time in the maker space eagerly each week.