Genius Hour for History Class! Social Studies Research Skills Passion Project

Grade Levels
8th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
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  • Internet Activities
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  1. Prepare for the beginning of the school year in your social studies class with these daily agenda slides, 180+ attendance questions, first day history activity, and discussion norms poster!Bundle includes: 40+ Backgrounds for Daily Agenda Slides180+ Attendance Questions (Google Slides resource) Writ
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Engage students in a sustained, self-directed research project using GENIUS HOUR! It's great way to get students interested in history as students can study ANY topic of their choice. They’ll create amazing products and presentations proving every kid is a genius! 

Students think about their interests--like football, cars, video games, or music--and they find a way to relate their interests to history. They can study change over time with ANY of their interests.


  • Genius Hour Directions (30+ page PDF-Ready to print & go!) 
  • Link to a GOOGLE SLIDES presentation! (Editable!)
  • Example Project Timeline for teachers/students (PDF)
  • Example Research Proposal and Works Cited for teachers/students (PDF)
  • List of possible topics for students based on their interests (PDF)
  • Rubric for Genius Hour project (PDF)


Genius Hour allows students to spend time researching a topic of their choice! In my classroom, I have Genius Hour Fridays where students spend one hour every Friday for about nine weeks researching a topic of their choice. 

During Genius Hour, students will: 

  • Consider their interests and how they relate to history 
  • Develop a research plan and engage in sustained research 
  • Create a product to show what they’ve learned 
  • Craft a presentation to share their findings with an audience

This resource includes:

  • helpful tips for teachers,
  • topic suggestions,
  • past Genius Hour examples, and more!

I made and used this project in U.S. History classes with 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students. You can adapt it to ANY time period in history. 

  • Have a student interested in lacrosse? Have them study the ancient Aztec ball game and its influence on modern sports. 
  • Have a student interested in nursing? Have them study how nursing changed during the Civil War. 
  • Have a student interested in mental health? Have them study major mental health reforms in world history. 

You could easily implement Genius Hour in any World History, U.S. History, Women's History, or African American History class.

This project can be done via distance learning or homeschooling, as well! 


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Total Pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
3 months
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


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