Alternatives to traditional homework
Great alternatives to homework that make your classroom less hierarchical and more multidisciplinary and interactive!
I know when working with my students, here’s what’s optimal: (Of course, I get to teach the best subject EVER, ENGINEERING!)
"You introduced us to new material in class": ‘IMMEDIATELY make us apply this new material to doing something, preferably productive. Tie it to the real world.’
"You want us to read an article before an in class discussion": Responsibility lies fully upon the student. ‘I should probably go read a bunch of related articles and be sure to show you some things I found and of course ask for clarification on things!’
"You want us to see if we understand a key concept": ‘Have me go through and explain each step in the process that is going on.’ (Not much different; but due to the subjects I mentor, it’s different)
"You have demonstrated a mathematical concept and want us to see how it applies…": This one actually isn’t applicable! What we do more or less is solve problems with math! Robot not moving straight? Oh, use a P controller. Still not working? Okay, middle schooler: I’m going to teach you calculus (Not joking, I introduce my 6th graders to calculus and we use rough approximations of it.) to help stabilize the path! It’s the real de- Actually, I just realized something and will break it out into a separate post.
Seriously, middle school is not too early to introduce the concept of a derivative.