I have recently started offering “choice” homework assignments – and my students LOVE them. Last week in a survey, many of them said that they loved working on the choice assignments and requested to do more of them.
For the choice assignment, students can do traditional homework (workbook problems only) OR they can do half of the workbook problems and then create their own word problem (with solution) based on that concept. They can write their problem on paper or create a Google Document and share it with me.
The next day, I have the students work each other’s problems in class. The students like to share their fun problem. Plus, they help each other solve their problems when they get stuck or have a question. It is also great because sometimes they find mistakes in a problem and will help that person understand what they did wrong. They love working each other problems and teaching (and helping) each other. I walk around the room looking at their problems and helping as needed.
Choice assignments are automatically differentiated. Students having trouble with a concept often chose to do the workbook problems so they can check their answers. Most students who make up problems create ones that are similar to ones that we have done in class. However, some students make up more difficult problems or go above and beyond with their creativity.
They are having so much fun making up their own math word problems – and spending so much more time thinking about math. Students usually dread working word problems but when they are creating their own and solving their friends problems they love them! I love how excited they are about their math homework and that they have asked me if they can do more choice assignments in the future. Another benefit for me is that I can use their problems in the future for subsequent classes. My students are creating creative and engaging word problems for future students!
Here are some examples of the work they have created.
- Google Doc of some of their student Created Word Problems
- Gallery of Student Created Dimensional Analysis Problems: