Pure Genius: Students Explore Passions in Math Classes

Students Lucy Saucedo (12) and Andrea Gomez (12) studying in pre-calculus. Shamaa Lakshmanan and Shireen Dadmehr are the only math teachers who participate in Genius Hour.


Students at Ann Richards participate in nation-wide program to explore their passions during their pre-calculus class.

Students are getting an opportunity to choose what they learn this semester. The opportunity is known as “Genius Hour,” a program several schools are joining in on.

According to Chris Kessler, a contributor to the website, “Genius Hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.”

“It’s a chance for students to explore something that they’re fascinated with, given our time constraints students aren’t able to do what they’re interested in,” pre-calculus teacher Shireen Dadmehr said. “So they brainstorm what they’re interested in, and they spent time in class learning about that.”

Genius Hour provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. At Ann Richards, the Genius Hour program is offered to students in pre-calculus like sophomore Willow Dalehite, who says she enjoys the program.

“[Genius Hour] is an opportunity to do the stuff we never get to do because we have a lot of homework,” Dalehite said “Ms. Lakshmanan told us that it’s a time where we can do what we want since we don’t have time outside of class.”

In class, students are prompted to research a topic of their choosing and present a presentation about their topic. Dalehite is making a story quilt.

She was inspired by reading a book about a woman who showed her story through a story quilt, since she was illiterate.

“I’m planning to show the quilt and talk about story quilts during my presentation,” Dalehite said.

The presentations from students could range from a PowerPoint to a finished product, and will be presented at the end of the semester for a grade.

“I was going to crochet a blanket, it’s something I have to research, but it’s going to be cool,” senior Isabela Sanchez said. “It’s good individual time for students.”

Students get 45 minutes every two weeks to research and create their presentation until December.

“I think this project is a good thing to do because we get a lot of time to do things we want to do, because in math we’re always doing something, I think we should do that in all of our classes, because it’s great,” Dalehite said.