Homework Task - Lock Box

By Hannah Jones


- Problem: Only 50% of year 8 class submitted their homework last week. 

 - Background: My School is a larger-than-average-sized secondary school with a sixth form with an average number of Pupil Premium students and student with a SEND. Homework was set on School Intranet on OneNote. This was the second homework set in this way this year and, due to restricted photocopying quotas, this is the preferred way to set homework. Many students gave the excuse that they had technical difficulties.  

- Goal: Resolve phantom and real technical difficulties with accessing homework on online system – OneNote. 

- Learning Objective: Team working, problem solving and curiosity. To create a definition in your own words for one of the keywords in the Calculation Topic. 

- Success Criteria: Whole class to successfully log onto One Note AND found this week’s homework. 

This is what I used to spark some creativity from my students today: 

1 x plastic tool box secured with 2 x hasps and 8 x different locks. 

 Students have been given a very simple piece of homework to open the box – to write a definition for one mathematical keyword: roots, indices, long-multiplication etc. There are eight locks and eight groups of students. I wrote them a letter, allegedly from the teacher who would be taking them tomorrow, explaining the task and that: 

“Everyone in your team is mission critical if one team member fails you all fail." 

I will only give a team them the combination to their lock when I have homework from every member of a team. Inside the box, there are envelopes containing different amounts of House Points. (I want to use this concept again with this class so didn’t want to raise their expectations by offering sweets - not fair to their next teacher either!) The trick is that I have customised their homework very slightly so they can’t copy from a friend. And they know this.

I’m giving them no excuses for technical excuses this week because I’m making myself available for a couple of lunchtimes in a computer room, prior to the homework submission lesson. As you can probably tell I’m a tad excited about my idea and can’t wait to see which elements work and which I need to go back to the drawing board with.