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10 students win top prizes in 'The Homework of China' event

TEN students have been awarded golden prizes in "The Homework of China" competition, inspired by the televised singing competition "The Voice of China," for excelling in doing interesting homework assignments, the organizer said.

The competition is meant to discover talented children by asking celebrities and educators to give them interesting homework assignments.

The activity, launched by, a website under the Shanghai Education Commission, attracted around 6,000 participants nationwide to do assignments that required scientific experiments, social surveys and creative design, rather than writing a report or review.

"Many children don't like homework because it is boring. We want to make a change by inviting celebrities and educators to give special assignments in which children can follow their interests and provide the best answers," said Jin Zhiming, the website director.

The website surveyed 515 students and 210 parents during the competition, finding that nearly 50 percent of students disliked homework and complained about too much homework from school.

The survey showed a third of the students spent two to three hours doing homework every day and 50.48 percent of parents would add additional homework for children.

Around 37 percent of the students said their homework lacks diversity and has too many repetitive questions, which made them feel bored.

Chen Zhuomin, a student from Shanghai Caoyang No. 2 High School, did the homework assigned by a Fudan University professor to record the readings of PM2.5 and ozone — two air pollutants that can pose health risks.

Apart from recording readings, Chen made charts to find the variation of the two pollutants and linked the influences of wind directions on PM2.5 density in Shanghai. Her detailed report won her the gold prize. She also discovered a high density of ozone this summer, which was linked to the unusual heat wave in Shanghai.

"I chose the assignment because environment is related to everyone. The most valuable thing I learned from this experience is the spirit of persistence when doing scientific research," Chen said after receiving the award.

Other interesting homework assignments included "Watch an original animation and learn to dub," "Design a school uniform," "Take a photo of every family member" and "Play the piano with a migrant child."

Jin said because there were not enough good homework assignments, many children wasted their time surfing on the Internet or playing online games during summer vacation and then made a desperate rush to finish their homework assignments before the new semester began.

"Homework is not a synonym of endless written exercises. We hope the celebrities and educators can awaken children's interest in doing homework and let their imagination fly," Jin said.

Celebrities who gave homework assignments include Jin Xing, a famous Chinese modern dancer and choreographer; Pei Gang, president of Tongji University and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Science, and Jian Ping, a famous Chinese children's book writer.


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