Although I know the idea is controversial for some, my students wrote research-based argument papers as the first part of their 2016 Genius Hour projects. I was on the fence about this. Would I really be holding up the idea of Genius Hour with this kind of assignment? Would students really feel the passion about the project if they were required to cite sources using MLA?
While I'm still not sure about the answers to those two questions, I am sure about one thing.
The argument papers I'm reading are among some of the best I have ever gotten from students.
I do realize there could be any number of variables in play here. However, I have to believe that having students select topics that they care about and giving them the time and space in school to explore those topics had to have contributed to this product in some way.
Between the quality of this work and the quality of their reflections after writing the paper, I already feel the project this far was a valuable use of our time.
I cannot wait to see what they come up with for our Genius Hour Expo in May!