Independent Homework

With some of my classes we decided it would be a good idea to have an independent homework from time to time, the choice is theirs,  some ideas follow.

In case you are wondering what the ‘badges’ are all about – see Smarty Pants and other badges!

Independent Homework

Independent Learner DojoWe decided it would be a good idea to have an independent homework sometimes, giving you the freedom to work on something of your own choice. This will enable you to demonstrate your independent learning skills. There are several suggestions here but you may choose any activity that will support your learning in Mathematics. Your activity should usually include trying some problems.

When we have an independent homework you should include in your work an introduction to say what you have chosen and why you chose it. You should also evaluate your chosen activity when you complete it. Was it useful? Have you achieved what you hoped? If you have used any particular resources would you recommend them to others?
Feedback responseNote that the independent homework gives you the chance to respond to feedback; for example you might want to try to solve some equations and present your solutions very logically and show that you are checking your work. It may be a response to your ‘self-feedback’. When you reflect on something we study in class, sometimes you might think ‘I’d like to practise some more examples’. Your independent homework provides the chance. Remember you could choose any topic, your homework offers you the chance to revise work.
A chance to practise a topic you feel needs extra work. You could use any of the following resources:
Your textbook: the Test Yourself exercises at the end of each chapter have the answers at the back so you can check your solutions as you work. You could also work through examples in the Yellow boxes or try some of the puzzles. If you do use worked examples – never just read them, work them out yourself.
Online activities: if you choose any online activities you should show some working in your book.

  1. MyMaths –  remember to use your second level password if you try any of the homeworks.
  2. MangaHigh – the quizzes – not just games!
  3. CIMT Tutorials Year 7 or Year 8
  4. The Maths TeacherThe Maths Teacher Number
    David Smith’s site, The Maths Teacher has an extensive collection of videos to help you study Mathematics. Many of the foundation GCSE topics are also ideal for KS3 (age 11-14). For each topic not only is a video available but also a transcript and exercises with solutions. This makes the site ideal for revision – you have the choice of perhaps just trying the exercises or if you feel you need more help you can watch the video – whatever is right for you.
  5. Try some diagnostic questions (all multiple choice) to check your understanding of many topics.
  6. Any website of your own choice, many students like BBC Bitesize for example. There are other suggestions on this page.
  • A chance to study any new area of Mathematics that we have not studied in class yet that interests you, you could use any of the above resources or perhaps you could try a problem from the Nrich websiteNote that you can search NrichSuppose you want to work on Algebra for example, you will find lots of activities here.
  • Try some Maths challenge questions – see this page. Note the challenges from the University of Mississippi, the Middle School Madness and Elementary Brain Teaser problems are for school age children, Middle School Madness for grade 8 (age 14 and under), the Elementary Brain Teaser for grade 6 (age12 and under). If you submit a correct solution by the deadline that week your name will be published on the website.
  • Work on your mathematical vocabulary, you will find the dictionaries here helpful. You may want to look at some other reference material, many students find these notes from Craig Barton very helpful. 
  • Learn to use WolframAlpha to check your work.
  • Learn to use the Desmos Graphing Calculator
  • If you want to practise (and assess yourself) at a particular level then try Convinced from Kangaroo Maths. Also from Kangaroo Maths see the Levelopaedia and Level LaddersEmily Hughes has a clear and attractively presented guide for both KS3 and KS4.
  • Are you guilty of making any of the Classic Mistakes here?
  • All the above are suggestions if you are not sure what to try. You are of course free to make any choice of your own as long as it supports your learning of Mathematics!

Remember that getting stuck helps you learn. Gritty students persevere and work things out when they get stuck, asking for help is fine too! Try and ask specific questions.

Do you have any observations / suggestions for independent homework? Please add your comments below.

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