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PES hosts first-time Genius Hour Expo

PESGeniusHour517.jpg(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Pierceton Elementary School fourth grade teachers Michelle Ball and Dana Clutter hosted the first ever Genius Hour Expo at the school on Tuesday.

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"Did your teacher ever ask you what you wanted to learn about?" That was the question posed to the parents in attendance at the first ever Genius Hour Expo at Pierceton Elementary School Tuesday evening. Fourth grade students from Michelle Ball's and Dana Clutter's classes presented their displays at the expo in a format similar to a science fair. 
Dana Clutter welcomed everyone in her opening remarks, sharing Genius Hour "gets our students reading, writing, designing, building, collaborating, and oh yeah, they get to have fun at school! We believe that the focus of school should not be a standardized test, but instead it should be about students wanting to learn, getting along with their peers, collaborating, and thinking in authentic ways that have the potential to change their lives, and who knows, maybe even change the world."
To encourage interaction among the presenters and those attending the event, attendees were given clipboards and a scavenger hunt that helped them to visit each presenter's exhibit.
Students were required "to research a non-googleable question (NGQ)" according to Ball and Clutter. These NGQ's were then posted at the top of their displays on poster board and iPads where students explained the findings to questions such as:
- How do seasons change?
- How can I build new features in Minecraft?
- How do you get heartburn?
- What are the Sun and Moon made of?
- How does a horse go lame?
- How much does a neutron star weigh?
The students have been preparing for the expo for approximately 2 months in the classroom each Wednesday afternoon. Surprisingly, their teachers shared, the projects were not meant to become homework assignments, but they had seen many students enjoying getting to work with their parents to research and discover answers to their probing NGQ's while outside of school.
The Genius Hour at PES is one hour each week, and appears to be part of a rapidly growing movement dedicated to expanding the conversation over learning and leadership. According to angelamaiers.com, founder of the Genius Hour, over 78,000 classrooms have implemented the Genius Hour into their curriculum, with over 200,000 adults following the online blog-style website, and a million students who have signed their manifesto. "Our students are geniuses, and the world needs their contribution," says Maiers.

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