Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced

The following article is from Edutopia.

Since the average high school student spends almost seven hours each week doing homework, it’s surprising that there’s no clear answer. Homework is generally recognized as an effective way to reinforce what students learn in class, but claims that it may cause more harm than good, especially for younger students, are common.

Here’s what the research says:

  • In general, homework has substantial benefits at the high school level, with decreased benefits for middle school students and little benefit for elementary students (Cooper, 1989; Cooper et al., 2006).
  • While assigning homework may have academic benefits, it can also cut into important personal and family time (Cooper et al., 2006).
  • Assigning too much homework can result in poor performance (Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015).
  • A student’s ability to complete homework may depend on factors that are outside their control (Cooper et al., 2006; OECD, 2014; Eren & Henderson, 2011).
  • The goal shouldn’t be to eliminate homework, but to make it authentic, meaningful, and engaging (Darling-Hammond & Ifill-Lynch, 2006).

Homework can boost learning, but doing too much can be detrimental The National PTA and National Education Association support the “ten-minute homework rule,” which recommends ten minutes of homework per grade level, per night (ten minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and so on, up to two hours for 12th grade) (Cooper, 2010). A recent study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90-100 minutes of homework per day, their math and science scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015). Giving students too much homework can lead to fatigue, stress, and a loss of interest in academics — something that we all want to avoid.


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Big Ideas Math Middle School STEM Videos Available

The Big Ideas Math Middle School Real-Life STEM videos are now available for every chapter in the middle school program. The videos allow students to further engage with mathematical concepts and relate them to real life scenarios. Students learn about filling piñatas, outer space, tuning a guitar, and more!

Guest Blog – Barb Webber “Our Passion For Math – Share The Love!!!”

With the week coming to a close and today being Valentine’s Day, we are proud to feature another guest blog from one of our consultants, Barb Webber. This week, Barb talks about the love and passion for mathematics.

Almost daily our students challenge us to give them answers about “when are we ever going to use this stuff?”  Even with our dedication to developing Mathematical Practice #4:  Model with Mathematics, we sometimes have to work hard to provide examples of application to problems arising in everyday life, society and the workplace.  However, I propose a simple solution – share your passion, share your love of mathematics!  This goes far beyond sale prices, travel scenarios, bridge construction and wonders of technology.  How does mathematics affect you?  What impact does it make on you and who you are?

When did you first feel a connection with numbers?  What patterns help you to make sense of problems or give you that edge to “do the math” in your head?  Do your students see that spark in your eyes?  Do you invite a challenge and encourage them to find their path to success even though it may be different than yours?   How about during math department meetings?  Do you share instructional strategies and student successes with other teachers?  Do you discuss the activities you’ve incorporated to develop the Mathematical Practices?  Share your passion.  Model with LOVE of Mathematics.

Have you ever read math books to your students?  The Math Curse is my favorite and provides creative, clever and challenging connections to communication arts – see what a little math can do to promote reading and writing opportunities.

Do others get your mathematical sense of humor?  Did you realize April 1st will be a palindrome?  Do you tell math jokes?…the little acorn that grew up and said, “Geometry!”  A colleague of mine put a math quote on the board each week.  Fresh material is an online search away! 

Am I a “math geek”???  You bet I am!  And proud to share my passion – share my love of mathematics.  And I’m hoping that love will grow among others, impacting their attitudes and effort.  A comfort level and positive attitude leads to confidence.  Confidence leads to perseverance, willingness to investigate and develop new and different strategies and the understanding that we learn from our mistakes as well as our successes.  Share your passion.  Yes, I’m a “math person” …and I love it!

From all of us at Big Ideas, have a wonderful weekend and a happy Valentines Day!


Integrating Technology into a Math Teacher’s Classroom

The Common Core State Standards communicate many areas in which technology can be or should be used to enhance the learning environment for students. As states’ implementations of the Common Core progress, more schools are utilizing technology in their classrooms and integrating it more heavily into their curricula. Though technology plays a considerable role in most teachers’ daily lives, bringing it into classroom can be a challenge. What are ways that math teachers can implement and expand the use of technology in their classrooms?

Interactive Learning Tools
The Internet is full of interactive learning tools and activities that have been developed for specific math subjects. Big Ideas Math features a number of them in our Teacher Resources section that correlate directly to concepts in the Big Ideas Math series.

Graphical and Visual Representations
Tech-savvy teachers and novices alike can utilize programs like Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word to generate graphs and visual representations of concepts. There are free templates and instructional resources for creating these online. A quick Google search for Free Excel Templates for Teachers will provide many great options, or change the search query for subject-specific content. Presenting a graphical example of a ‘time value of money’ problem could make all the difference for a visual learner who has been struggling with the concept.

Connecting Classrooms
Teachers have the opportunity to connect their students with their peers all over the world thanks to technology. Two teachers who live across the country can arrange to have their classrooms connect via a video chat service like Skype to share a lesson. Teachers can develop word problems using relevant data such as the distance between the classrooms, population of each state/town/capital, and cost of living data. These adapted lessons will not only increase students’ engagement but also broaden their horizons as they interact with each other.

Additional Resources
In addition to the Teacher Resources provided by Big Ideas Math, the following websites also provide additional resources and suggestions for the 21st Century math classroom:
BrainPOP Math
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
Innovate My School
Cobllaborize Classroom: Free Resources

Please share with us how you have successfully implemented technology into your math class!