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Home Genius

Home Genius is a resource database of academic activities and prompts inspired by common household objects!

Photo of Shahpar Mirza
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I am a.....

  • Teacher
  • Student
  • Organization

Tell us about your idea

In a COVID world, classrooms are forced to be done virtually, making them lack a sense of physicality and interactivity that the physical space of a school inherently provides. On top of that, students and teachers face digital fatigue after spending hours in front of a screen. Yet, there is a wealth of academically relevant activities that can be done inside the home using common household items. 

Home Genius is a place where teachers, parents, and students could find such activities, interact with others who have tried them, and add their own ideas for at-home experiments and prompts. 

These activities cover a range of subjects from math applications to chemistry experiments, yet there is also a unique opportunity for these activities to prompt students to share more about parts of their identities and things that are important to them within this at-home learning context. Prompts such as “write a biography for your favorite piece of clothing from the first-person perspective” could empower students to creatively share pieces of their home environments that make them who they are. 

Activities on the Home Genius platform could be organized either by which household room the required materials are commonly found or by subject area relevant to the activity. Each activity page on the Home Genius would include required materials, directions, and tags to help organize it into the larger library of activities (i.e. #paperplates #kitchen #electricity #physics #science). In addition, each activity page would include a comments section where users could share pictures, videos, results, comments, and advice from their experience doing the activity. This comments section would ultimately create a large community of educators and students who inspire each other to attempt and also build upon the activities within the Home Genius library.

Home Genius would provide educators an opportunity to share the wealth of activities that they know pertains to their subject area and can be done at home. This would ensure that the library of activities on Home Genius is constantly growing.

Overall, Home Genius provides students at-home opportunities to do hands-on experiments, problem-solve, and apply the skills they learn in school to real-world contexts. In addition, it creates a community of educators and learners who are inspired to share their results and learning from activities as well as contribute to the library of activities.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Too often are subjects taught with little real-world context or application. Students are somehow still constantly left with the question “when will I ever use this?” lingering in their minds as they do their homework. This can lead to a lack of motivation in school and, more importantly, a lack of curiosity. Remote learning provides a unique opportunity to merge academic thoughts with students’ home environments so that when they look at dish soap, they see the potential for a fun chemistry experiment. This frame of mind is what drives scientists and inventors to learn and create using the world around them.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

The Home Genius team was brought together via a hackathon led by the K12 Lab at Stanford’s d.school. Our small team of five is scattered across the different time zones of the U.S. yet we’re united by our passions for education. Some of us are students or recent graduates and others are teachers.

After the hackathon, we were inspired to continue progress on our Home Genius idea by beginning to collect resources and prototype interface designs. The opportunity to allocate further resources to this project could help us bring it to reality faster and provide students, teachers, and parents an easily navigable library of activities that utilize resources within the common household!

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Our team members are located all over the U.S., but our team lead, Shahpar Mirza, is based in Palo Alto, CA.

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