Students create business with benefits


Students explore passions, work creatively during Genius Hour
Independence school gives students time to work independently during school

By Colin Mayfield, WLWT Anchor/Reporter

Hoping to build a culture of innovation, students in Jason Shattuck’s Genius Hour are feeding their entrepreneurial spirits.

Sixth grade student Cheyanne Ross confirmed, “I love almost everything about it.”

Her sixth grade college Caiden Neidenbach chimed in, saying, “It really teaches us about business, for when we grow up.”

Marketing, advertising, and even supply and demand are all terms showing up in this Genius Hour classroom at Summit View Academy. The outside-the-box approach is aimed at students from Kindergarten through eight grade. Teachers stoke students’ passions by offering projects based on those passions.

Shattuck said, “They’re learning about business and cost analysis and profits. It’s all about figuring out how to charge for business and then figure out a product to make as well.”

Shattuck’s project highlights creative thinking, and uses that to form and run a business.

Part of Shattuck’s concept is to build skills not found in a textbook but a foundation in critical thinking.

Making and printing buttons to sell, students like Cheyanne and Caiden are helping the Dragonfly Foundation by building more than just skills, but a sense of service.

The foundation helps families going through cancer treatments.

Shattuck said, “I asked them, is there something we could do more with? We talked about the importance of this to these kids, and what the foundation is all about.”

Neidenbach added, “I know we’re just not making it for money, just making it and helping people for a good cause.”

Shattuck included the added benefits saying, “It has other classroom benefits, being able to think outside the box and work with team members. We see it in the classroom, math or science, even social studies.”

Genius Hour in itself stems from companies like Google, where engineers spend 20 percent of time to work on any project they want. The company found by providing choice, productivity increased and 50 percent of Google’s projects like Gmail and Google News were created during Genius Hour.ū