A common frustration for teachers is students’ lack of retention of skills and the need to constantly re-teach skills that have been covered in previous years. Not surprisingly, this frustrates students too! The Mathsquad Homework Program is designed to give students regular opportunities to practice the skills they are learning in class, increasing retention and the efficiency in which they can draw upon each skill.
The routine and simple expectations around the Mathsquad Homework Program also makes the standard excuses for not doing homework redundant. Less excuses means greater participation, enabling students to reap the benefits of the program.
Why teachers will love the Year 8 Mathsquad Homework Program…
- Resources are premade and school licences are available from approximately $50 AUD
- Homework program is easy to set up and once in place is a routine which is easy to manage
- Students’ retention of skills and efficiency in which skills are recalled will be maximised
- Students’ progress can be tracked informally through the homework sheets or formally by having students complete a randomly chosen homework sheet under test conditions enabling teachers to make informed decisions as to how best to challenge and support students’ learning.
Why students will love the Year 8 Mathsquad Homework Program…
- Homework is achievable and all students can be appropriately challenged
- Students can see themselves improving over time
- Students can see what skills they know and what skills they are ready to learn
- Students are given the time and space to improve their maths skills
Why parents will love the Year 8 Mathsquad Homework Program…
- Homework expectations are clear and easy to support
- Parents can see areas of weakness and provide assistance (either personally or through a tutor)
Accessing the Year 8 Homework Sheets
The Year 8 homework sheets, along with solutions, can either be purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers or via invoice. School licences are available from approximately $50 and more information on pricing found here. Click here to visit the Mathsquad store at Teachers Pay Teachers or click here to fill in a form to request an invoice for a product.
Q. What are some of the key features of the Year 8 homework sheets?
A. Some key features of the homework are listed below.
- Homework sheets available at two levels; Foundation and Core. The Foundation level mostly includes prerequisite knowledge from Year 7 and the Core level mostly covers content from the Year 8 curriculum. Levels are labelled discreetly to ensure attention isn’t unnecessarily drawn to students working at different levels.
- 40 sheets per level to allow one sheet per week for the entire year.
- Each sheet assesses the same skills in the same order to give students multiple opportunities to practice key skills.
- Skills sequenced to ensure prerequisite knowledge is covered in earlier questions.
- Space for working out.
- Correct mathematical language used throughout.
- Technology free and technology active questions.
- Worded questions are written in a NAPLAN style. Questions relate to the skills from the homework sheet and are presented in increasing difficulty.
- Transition questions are included to increase productivity while transitioning from foundation and core.
Click here to access an annotated section of the homework book.
Q. What do the Year 8 homework sheets look like?
A. Click here to view a sample Foundation level homework sheet and click here to view a sample Core level homework sheet. You may notice that the question difficulty places the Year 8 Foundation homework somewhere in between Year 7 Foundation and Year 7 Core. This has been done to aid students’ transition into the Year 8 program.
Q. What do the Year 8 homework solutions sheets look like?
A. Click here to view a sample Foundation level homework solutions sheet and click here to view a sample Core level homework solutions sheet. You may notice that many questions are accompanied by some working out to help students see some initial steps.
Q. Do the skills in the program align with the Victorian Curriculum?
A. The skills within the homework sheets have been designed to cover the majority of the Year 8 curriculum and key prerequisite skills from earlier years. Click here for a full list of skills covered and their connections to the 2018 Victorian Curriculum Content Descriptors. Note that not all curriculum outcomes are covered in the homework program due to either suitability of question type and limitations of space. Click here to see which curriculum components are not covered by the homework program.
Q. What is the easiest way to implement the homework program?
A. Print one booklet per student, choose a homework due day and correct sheets as a class for immediate feedback. Click here for a printable implementation guide unpacking the steps in more detail.
Q. Is there a a system in place where students can document the skills they can do over time to track their progress?
A. Yes! There is a pre-made grid called an “awesomeness tracker” which is downloadable here. It is advised that the awesomeness tracker is not introduced until Book 1A is completed. In the early weeks of the program students are likely to have enough to keep track of (pardon the pun!) and just completing and correcting their homework will be enough. Another bonus is that completing three sheets worth of highlights in the awesomeness tracker at once is a more efficient process and students are likely to start seeing growth in some skills which is motivating.
Q. What other strategies can we use to get even more out of the Mathsquad Homework Program?
A. Heaps of additional strategies can be used…. Click here for a printable version of add-ons.
Q: What if a student can’t do any of the questions?
A: As with any established program there will be some extreme cases that are not catered for. There are lots of free resources online for example, addition practice sheets found at https://www.math-salamanders.com/free-addition-worksheets.html or mixed questions at https://corbettmaths.com/5-a-day/primary/ looking at the Bronze level.
Q. Once a student has mastered Core level, what should they do for homework?
A. One possible approach is to tick the optional “Core Plus” questions (located on the left hand side of the second page of the Core level questions). So this additional work does not result in students needing to spend longer on their weekly homework give students the option to only complete every second question for Core skills 1 to 29 (even questions on even sheets, odd questions on odd sheets). If these questions do not provide sufficient challenge I recommend using an alternate resource , perhaps Australian Maths Competition past papers. Past Australian Maths Competition Papers can be purchased from here.
Q. Do you plan to make the sheets electronic in future so they can be automatically marked?
A. Personally, I think it is really important that students have practice completing mathematics by hand (with their hand being an extension of their brain) and having the opportunity to practice neat and appropriate working out where needed. I worry that making the sheets electronic will lose these benefits that are currently present with the hard copy homework system. Another worry is that using an online approach will result in a lower rate of homework completion as students have an additional excuse for not doing their homework if they have a flat battery or internet issues.
Q: How do we stop students just copying homework from their friends or getting help from a family member or tutor?
A: At the start of the year I email all parents with the following information. It doesn’t guarantee no copying, though encourages positive practices.
Dear Parents and Guardians of YY students,
My name is AA, I am your child’s mathematics teacher for 20XX. While I have only had a few classes with YY I am already pleased with how they are responding to some initial routines and classroom expectations.
I would like to take this opportunity inform you of the homework requirements in this subject.
- Students in YY are required to complete one homework sheet per week, with a sheet due each ZZ. The first homework sheet will be due this coming ZZ on the SSth of TT.
- Students may not be able to complete all questions at this stage of the year. As long as students give their best effort it is appropriate for them to skip the questions that they are unable to access at the moment.
- Parents are welcome to assist with homework, though of course this is not expected. Remember that learning to do skills independently is the overall goal so please ensure your child is able to follow your strategies. It also helps if you note where assistance has been given.
- If they lose their homework booklet an electronic copy of the sheets can be accessed… [referring to the online share point].