Teachers

Is Generation Genius Worth It? One Middle School Science Teacher’s Review

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When you work at a school that encourages its teachers to be “designers,” you are expected to create your own lessons from a variety of sources. It’s great to have the ability to customize and curate what I teach to my students, but there’s a little variable called time that can make that challenging. Enter Generation Genius  or, as my students lovingly became accustomed to calling it, GG. I am not exaggerating when I say it helped reinstate my sanity as a middle school teacher during a pandemic. Here’s how Generation Genius saves time and energy, while keeping students engaged with learning.

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What is Generation Genius?

Collage of Generation Genius videos and activities

In my opinion, it’s a genius method to supplement (or encompass) your math and science lessons. As the pandemic surged and teachers were being pulled from their prep periods to sub in other classes, the time available to create engaging lessons quickly diminished. Forget spending hours prepping and creating—I could barely make it through the day. When I found Generation Genius, that all changed.

What first seemed like a great resource for videos quickly revealed itself to be much more. I’ve launched new units by showing a video and created a Google Form Formative assessment from the discussion questions. I’ve also used the reading materials to do a small group activity and have done an online quiz for a whole class review.

Engagement with ease

Screencap of a Generation Genius video

Generation Genius provides access to grade-level standard resources for all students. The videos, in particular, are so engaging and informative. When I say engaging, I mean they keep my 7th graders’ attention all the way to the end. Unless you’re on TikTok or Snapchat, that’s extremely difficult to do. Videos range in length from about 10 minutes to 18 minutes, depending on the topic and the grade level. Any new vocabulary is shown on screen with a written definition (which is great for doing close notes or a study guide). There’s even a DIY lab for every video. I loved this, especially during virtual learning, because doing a real science lab is a tad bit challenging when you’re teaching from your living room. More specifically, when your audience is 28 black squares on a screen (because middle schoolers don’t ever turn their cameras on, but I digress …), you can count on Generation Genius to easily engage your students. It’s as simple as that.

Generation Genius offers math lessons, too

Though I relied on Generation Genius for its science content, the platform now has new math resources for grades K-8 that are just as amazing as the science ones! All videos are conveniently grouped into grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. This makes vertical articulation (if you’ve got time for that) quite easy. You can even type in a topic such as photosynthesis, and all related videos across grade levels will populate for you.

Need another reason to responsibly rely on GG? All resources are completely aligned to over 50 standards, including NGSS and state standards in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Did I mention that Generation Genius has Kahoot! integration? Just think about it: How awesome would it be to show a video, have your students do a small group activity derived from the discussion questions, and then end your lesson with an energetic and competitive game? Mind. Blown.

How much does Generation Genius cost?

The good news is you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to test out all the perks. After your trial ends, yes, a subscription to Generation Genius and its plethora of engaging resources does cost money. For $85 a year, teachers can have full access to all resources, plus they can use upgraded features such as sharing digital links with their class of students. I personally didn’t use that feature, but having access to the content was more than enough for me to feel the cost was worth it. There are pricing packages for an entire district ($5,000+/year), a school site ($995/year), an individual classroom ($85/year), and even one for use at home ($75/year). You can also purchase plans that are specific to science or math only.

Would I spend classroom funds on Generation Genius?

Screencap of a Generation Genius video lesson on academic vocabulary

That answer is a resounding yes from me. I gladly used money from my grade-level fund to purchase a classroom subscription after my 30-day trial ended. I would wager to say I’ve used Generation Genius’ features at least twice a week when planning my lessons. If I am being transparent, I’ve also whipped out a video on the spot because I didn’t have the time or mental wherewithal to sit down and plan, but that’s beside the point. (Or, is that exactly the point?)

Generation Genius’ activities can be used in conjunction with your planning, as a standalone activity, or when you need to quickly engage your students while you figure out the rest of your day. C’mon, we’ve all been there. Generation Genius has been there for me when I needed it most, and I guarantee it will be there for you, too.

How could you use Generation Genius’ features in your classroom? Share in the comments below!

Want more articles and tips from me? Subscribe to the middle & high school math newsletter here.

Looking for more science activities and resources? Check out “50 Science Bell Ringers to Kickstart Your Class”.

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