While the idea of offering students a choice of homework – sometimes quite literally from a Homework Menu or, more-creatively still, in a gamified form – isn’t particularly new there’s always room for variations around this basic principle – and this is where the Homework Grid might conceivably find a small gap in the competitive homework market.
The basic prep involves loading each blank Homework Grid with a range of 1 – 10 mark questions (you can, of course, change this to whatever suits you best). These are coloured-coded (because of course they are) and I’ve included the code with the template (red squares, for example are 10-mark questions).
Each Grid you create can reflect a whole course (e.g. Sociology), a specific module (e.g. Crime and Deviance), a topic within a module (e.g. Theories of Crime) or whatever arrangement best fits your homework schedule / preferences.
Set a “total question” score for each Grid. For the sake of illustration, I’ve suggested 30 marks for the blank specimen grid I’ve created i.e. students must answer questions worth 30 or more marks in total for any given piece of homework. You can vary this number depending on how often you set homework and any changes you make in the marks for each question type on a Grid.
Take Your Pick
In this version students have a free choice of questions from the Gird. They could for example, answer 3 x 10-mark questions or 2 x 10-mark, 1 x 6 mark and 4 x 1-mark.
The main advantage of this type of free choice is that students can decide for themselves which types of question they have the time and inclination to practice.
On the other hand if you want to build a little more structure into the exercise you might insist they include a 10-mark or 6-mark question in their choice to ensure students answer a spread of questions.
Cross the Grid
For this version students must start at one side of the grid (left, right, top or bottom) and work their way to the opposite side choosing questions that are adjacent to the question they’ve previously chosen. As with the free choice version they must answer questions totalling 30 or more marks as they cross from one side to the other.
In this version students can move across the Grid answering questions in any order they choose (left, right, up, down, diagonal), keeping in mind the proviso that the next question chosen must be from a box adjacent to the previous question.
The blank Grid I’ve created is in Word format to allow you to create whatever questions you need for each piece of homework you set.
If you want to make each Grid a little more permanent simply Export it from Word in pdf format that can then be distributed to your students.
The Grid can be used across any subject you teach.