Change Up Class and Let Your Students Explore with a "Genius Hour"

November 14, 2019

Change Up Class and Let Your Students Explore with a "Genius Hour"

Take time out of your teaching schedule to let your students explore and tinker. Jenkins County FFA has a "genius hour" each week where students can try new skills and even use equipment they normally won't have access to.
Sounds like a waste of time doesn't it? Do your students ever saw the exact same thing about lectures? Maybe, maybe not. The takeaway is that every student learns their own way, but in this day and age many students rarely handle tools much less use them.

It's pretty basic to make a lesson plan, use these tools, make this project, and here's your grade. But we both know there's no way to cover every tool and every piece of equipment in a way meaningful to each student. Enter...Genius Hour.

Give your class an opportunity to explore. Not just to dig in the toolbox and continually ask "What's this?" but give them an old pallet and let them try their hand at using a crowbar. Slide in the word "leverage" and "fulcrum" as they get the hang of it.

As in the picture, supervise students as they use a wood turning lathe. It's something rarely seen outside of your shop and whether they'll admit it, that stuff is really neat. No wood lathe? You probably have something like welding equipment, pressure washer, metal cutting equipment, small engines, woodworking equipment...that they don't normally get to use.

Yeah, they can take that class, but give them a taste every month or so. Get them interested. Let them take a risk and try something outside their comfort zone. You never know which student will get their interest sparked and send them down a new path.
Here's another neat idea: Ag teacher Trent Wells teaches electrical wiring without going into the shop. Ag Mechanics Desktop Electrical Wiring Station Setup is a great way to bring a shop activity into the classroom.

If one idea isn't enough click over to our Ag Mechanics curriculum page and find something to teach your students without adding to your to do list.