The Homework Machine

Guide cover image

50 pages • 1 hour read

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Introduction-Chapter 2

Chapters 3-4

Chapters 5-6

Chapters 7-8

Chapters 9-10

Character Analysis

Symbols & Motifs

Important Quotes

Essay Topics

Discussion Questions

Summary and Study Guide

The Homework Machine , written by acclaimed American author Dan Gutman was first published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and is the first of a two-book series. The second book, The Return of the Homework Machine , was published in 2011. Gutman is primarily a children’s fiction writer who has been nominated for and won numerous awards, including 18 for The Homework Machine alone. Gutman is best known for his humorous series, My Weird School , in which there are more than 70 books. He lives in New York City with his family.

The paperback edition used for this study guide was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.

Get access to this full Study Guide and much more!

  • 7,800+ In-Depth Study Guides
  • 4,800+ Quick-Read Plot Summaries
  • Downloadable PDFs

Plot Summary

The Homework Machine is told from the perspectives of multiple characters in the format of tape recordings for a police report.

The SuperSummary difference

  • 8x more resources than SparkNotes and CliffsNotes combined
  • Study Guides you won ' t find anywhere else
  • 175 + new titles every month

The four main characters are fifth-grade students who are grouped at the same classroom table because their last names start with D: Sam Dawkins (Snik), Kelsey Donnelly , Judy Douglas , and Brenton Damagatchi . Other than sharing the same last initial, the students have nothing in common. Snik is the cool class smart aleck; Kelsey is laid back and doesn’t care about school; Judy is conscientious and in the gifted program; and Brenton is a loner and genius who designs software and studies psychology in his spare time. Snik pushes people’s buttons, and one day he pushes Brenton too far—implying that Brenton spends all his free time doing homework. Brenton retorts that he doesn’t spend any time doing homework and lets slip that he has invented a homework machine.

Snik calls Brenton a liar, so Brenton invites Snik, Judy, and Kelsey to his house to see for themselves. The group are stunned when Brenton’s machine prints out perfectly completed homework in Brenton’s handwriting. Brenton agrees to let Snik, Judy, and Kelsey join him after school to “do” their homework and even rewrites the software to accommodate their handwriting. The unlikely foursome spends every afternoon together, but they insist that they are not friends and that the only reason they tolerate each other is to use the homework machine, which they name Belch. Judy feels guilty about cheating but enjoys getting A’s and uses the extra time to take up ballet. Kelsey’s vastly improved grades earn her privileges, such as a belly-button piercing, from her mother. As the weeks pass, the D Squad becomes addicted to using Belch and the boundaries between their various social identities begin to blur. Snik shows an interest in “boring” chess, which Brenton plays, and Judy tries to be complimentary about Kelsey’s piercings (while finding them disgusting). Everything seems to be going well. However, things start to rapidly fall apart halfway through the year. Judy and Kelsey’s other friends resent their new associations and “unfriend” them, and their teacher, Miss Rasmussen , suspects that they are cheating.

In addition, a strange man has been stalking the group ever since Brenton designed software to instigate a hugely successful social media-driven “red socks day” that spread across America. Miss Rasmussen springs a surprise test on the class to see whether the D Squad really knows their schoolwork. Sure enough—Kelsey and Snik fail, and Judy gets a C, confirming Miss Rasmussen’s suspicions. Before Miss Rasmussen can report them, Snik’s father, who is in the military, is killed in the Middle East. This tragic event diverts Miss Rasmussen’s attention from the cheating, which seems trivial in comparison. The bond between the D Squad strengthens as the stress of keeping Belch secret increases.

Together they decide to shut Belch down, only to discover that Belch has taken on a life of its own and will not power off. They throw Belch into the Grand Canyon and feel relief as they watch it disappear. However, when backpackers find computer pieces at the bottom of the canyon, the D Squad is called into the sheriff’s office where they confess to everything. The case is closed, but their unlikely friendships continue to strengthen and grow. The stalker turns out to be someone scouting Brenton to offer him a job as an influencer for his company. The company’s clients want to market their products to kids. Brenton simply offers him an idea he would like to influence kids with: “Do your homework” (146).

blurred text

Don't Miss Out!

Access Study Guide Now

Related Titles

By Dan Gutman

The Kid Who Ran for President

Guide cover image

Featured Collections

View Collection

Laugh-out-Loud Books

Popular Study Guides

Science & Nature

Truth & Lies

Want exclusive content, like free chapters, news, and sweepstakes? Register for the newsletter here!

By clicking 'Sign Up,' I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Hachette Book Group’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

The Homework Machine

The Homework Machine

Formats and Prices

Also available from:.

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-A-Million

The Homework Machine

Buy from other retailers, what's this book about.

DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher’s pet, and a slacker – Brenton, Sam Snick, Judy and Kelsey, respectively, – are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don’t want when you are keeping a secret. Before long, members of the D Squad, as they are called at school are getting strange Instant Messages from a shady guy named Milner; their teacher, Miss Rasmussen, is calling private meetings with each of them and giving them pop tests that they are failing; and someone has leaked the possibility of a homework machine to the school newspaper. Just when the D Squad thinks things can’t get any more out of control, Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Soon the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail…or worse!

What Kind of Book is .css-1msjh1x{font-style:italic;} The Homework Machine

Book lists that include this book.

Spy School British Invasion

The Creative Behind the Book

Dan Gutman is the New York Times bestselling author of the Genius Files series; the Baseball Card Adventure series, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies around the world; and the My Weird School series, which has sold more than 12 million copies. Thanks to his many fans who voted in their classrooms, Dan has received nineteen state book awards and ninety-two state book award nominations. He lives in New York City with his wife, Nina. You can visit him online at www.dangutman.com.

What Has Dan Gutman Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Dan Gutman know that you want to hear from them about their book.

More Books by Dan Gutman

Casey Back at Bat

Discover All the Books in the The Homework Machine Series

Return of the Homework Machine

Other Books You Might Enjoy If You Liked This Book

Katie and the Cupcake Cure

Book Details

Contribute to this page.

More than halfway there—keep going!

Just the barebones.

  • Help Center
  • Gift a Book Club
  • Beautiful Collections
  • Schedule Demo

Book Platform

  • Find a Book
  • Reading App
  • Community Editors

Authors & Illustrators

  • Get Your Book Reviewed
  • Submit Original Work

Follow Bookroo

Instagram

Facebook

THE HOMEWORK MACHINE

about homework machine

March 1, 2006 Aladdin/Simon & Schuster ISBN: 9780689876783 Ages 8-12

about homework machine

Study Guide

ABOUT THE BOOK

The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher’s pet, and a slacker—Brenton, Sam, Judy and Kelsey, respectively—are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don’t want when you are keeping a secret.

Before long, members of the D Squad, as they are called at school, are getting strange Instant Messages from a shady guy named Milner; their teacher, Miss Rasmussen, is calling private meetings with each of them and giving them pop tests that they are failing; and someone has leaked the possibility of a homework machine to the school newspaper. Just when the D Squad thinks things can’t get any more out of control, Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Soon the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail…or worse!

about homework machine

AWARDS AND LISTS

ILA/CBC Children’s Choices ● Child Magazine’s Best Children’s Books of 2006 ● Booklist Editor’s Choice ● Booklinks‘ Lasting Connections of 2006, ● 2006 New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing ● Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best ● Sasquatch Award Winner (Washington) ● Bluestem Book Award Nominee (Illinois) ● Colorado Children’s Book Award Master List ● Delaware Diamonds Award Nominee ● Disney Adventures Book Awards Nominee ● Golden Sower Award (Nebraska) ● Indian Paintbrush Book Award Nominee (Wyoming) ● Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominee ● Keystone to Reading Award Nominee (Pennsylvania) ● Land of Enchantment RoadRunner Award Nominee (New Mexico) ● Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominee ● Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominee (Minnesota) ● Nebraska Golden Sower Award Nominee ● Nene Award Nominee (Hawaii) ● Nutmeg Children’s Book Award Nominee (Connecticut) ● ONEBOOKAZ Nominee (Arizona) ● Pacific Northwest Young Reader’s Choice Award Master List ● Prairie Pasque Award Nominee (South Dakota) ● South Carolina Children’s Book Award Nominee ● Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nominee (Florida) ● Virginia Readers’ Choice Award List ● Volunteer State Book Award Nominee (Tennessee) ● Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee (Indiana)

★ “This fast-paced, entertaining book has something for everyone.” — Booklist

“Humorous” — Kirkus Reviews

“A dramatic and thought-provoking story with a strong message about honesty and friendship.” — School Library Journal

Comments are closed.

  • Facebook Icon Round FB icon with f initial
  • Twitter Icon Twitter Logo
  • Instagram Icon Instagram Icon
  • Tumbler Icon Tumbler Icon

The Homework Machine

The Homework Machine

Starting with a stern statement from the Grand Canyon, Arizona Police Chief Rebecca Fish, meet four fifth graders in big trouble. There's long-haired, rebellious, cool guy Sam Dawkins; fun-loving, unacademic, pink-haired Kelsey Donnelly, African American grind Judy Douglas, and friendless genius Brenton Damagatchi. The whole thing starts because Sam is anti-homework, especially the daily fill in-the-blank worksheets his first-year teacher Miss Rasmussen hands out. Sam is skeptical when Brenton claims he has programmed his computer to search the web and do all his homework each day, but it’s true. Soon the four seatmates are spending every afternoon in Brenton’s bedroom, printing out their daily assignments on the computer they nickname Belch. It can’t do any harm, right? The chronology and confession of their ill-fated escapade is related entirely through a series of transcripts, narrated by the four contrite kids, their parents, classmates, and Miss Rasmussen.

There are many interesting threads explored in this nimble story: keeping secrets, making friends, being popular, the morality of taking the easy way out, first crushes, the meaning of war, and even the loss of a parent. The setting of the Grand Canyon and sub-themes about playing chess, starting fads, and using a catapult will get kids looking up supporting information in books and on the Internet. Questions readers can think about as they read include: Which of the four main characters is most like or unlike you and why? Which one would or would not be your friend and why?

Reviewed by : JF.

Themes : DEATH. FRIENDSHIP. GRIEF. HUMOR.

Also available from:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-A-Million

CRITICS HAVE SAID

  • “A dramatic and thought-provoking story with a strong message about honesty and friendship.” – Elaine E. Knight, School Library Journal
  • “Booktalkers will find this a natural, particularly for those hard-to-tempt readers whose preferred method of computer disposal involves a catapult and the Grand Canyon.” – Carolyn Phelan, Booklist
  • “Tucked in between the laughs are excellent messages about tolerance, honesty, and the importance of what the students’ teacher calls the “homework machine [that] already exists. It’s called your brain.” – Child Magazine
  • “Short chapters of alternating voices tell the story, which is funny in some places, but is not without intense and sometimes sad moments.” – Susie Wilde, Children

IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:

  • Amato, Mary. The Word Eater. Holiday House, 2000. ISBN-13: 9780823419401
  • Clements, Andrew. Frindle. Simon & Schuster, 1996. ISBN-13: 9780689818769
  • Clements, Andrew. Lunch Money. Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN-13: 9780689866852
  • Clements, Andrew. No Talking. Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN-13: 9781416909835
  • Codell, Esm Raji. Sahara Special. Hyperion, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780786816118
  • Fletcher, Ralph. Flying Solo. Clarion, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780395873236
  • Gutman, Dan. The Get Rich Quick Club. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780060534424
  • Gutman, Dan. The Kid Who Ran for President. Scholastic, 1996. ISBN-13: 9780590939881
  • Gutman, Dan. Qwerty Stevens Back in Time: The Edison Mystery. Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN-13: 9780590939881
  • Park, Barbara. Maxie, Rosie, and Earl—Partners in Grime. Knopf, 1990. ISBN-13: 9780679806431
  • Pearsall, Shelley. All of the Above. Little, Brown, 2006. ISBN-13: 9780316115261
  • Rocklin, Joanne. For Your Eyes Only! Scholastic, 1997. ISBN-13: 9780142003220
  • Sachar, Louis. Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Morrow, 1978. ISBN-13: 9780380698714

Profile Picture

  • ADMIN AREA MY BOOKSHELF MY DASHBOARD MY PROFILE SIGN OUT SIGN IN

avatar

THE HOMEWORK MACHINE

by Dan Gutman ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2006

When fifth-graders Judy, Sam and Kelsey discover their classmate Brenton Damagatchi’s homework machine, they think they are on to a good thing and begin to visit him regularly after school. Alphabetically seated at the same table, the brilliant Asian-American computer geek, hardworking, high-achieving African-American girl, troubled army brat and ditzy girl with pink hair would seem to have nothing in common. (They would also seem to be stereotypes, but young readers won’t mind.) But they share an aversion to the time-consuming grind of after-school work. Their use of the machine doesn’t lead to learning—as a surprise spring quiz demonstrates—but it does lead to new friendships and new interests. The events of their year are told chronologically in individual depositions to the police. In spite of the numerous voices, the story is easy to follow, and the change in Sam, especially, is clear, as he discovers talents beyond coolness thanks to a new interest in chess. Middle-grade readers may find one part of this story upsettingly realistic and the clearly stated moral not what they had hoped to hear, but the generally humorous approach will make the lesson go down easily. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-689-87678-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2006

CHILDREN'S SOCIAL THEMES

Share your opinion of this book

More by Dan Gutman

THE (MOSTLY) TRUE STORY OF CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLE

BOOK REVIEW

by Dan Gutman ; illustrated by Kelley McMorris

RUTH BADER GINSBURG COULDN'T DRIVE?

by Dan Gutman ; illustrated by Allison Steinfeld

AMELIA EARHART IS ON THE MOON?

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

by Rebecca Bond ; illustrated by Rebecca Bond ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2015

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

CHILDREN'S ACTION & ADVENTURE FICTION | CHILDREN'S ANIMALS | CHILDREN'S SOCIAL THEMES

More by Rebecca Bond

MY BED

by Rebecca Bond ; illustrated by Salley Mavor

PIG & GOOSE AND THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING

by Rebecca Bond ; illustrated by Rebecca Bond

OUT OF THE WOODS

MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE

by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2017

Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean.

A 12-year-old copes with a brain tumor.

Maddie likes potatoes and fake mustaches. Kids at school are nice (except one whom readers will see instantly is a bully); soon they’ll get to perform Shakespeare scenes in a unit they’ve all been looking forward to. But recent dysfunctions in Maddie’s arm and leg mean, stunningly, that she has a brain tumor. She has two surgeries, the first successful, the second taking place after the book’s end, leaving readers hanging. The tumor’s not malignant, but it—or the surgeries—could cause sight loss, personality change, or death. The descriptions of surgery aren’t for the faint of heart. The authors—parents of a real-life Maddie who really had a brain tumor—imbue fictional Maddie’s first-person narration with quirky turns of phrase (“For the love of potatoes!”) and whimsy (she imagines her medical battles as epic fantasy fights and pretends MRI stands for Mustard Rat from Indiana or Mustaches Rock Importantly), but they also portray her as a model sick kid. She’s frightened but never acts out, snaps, or resists. Her most frequent commentary about the tumor, having her skull opened, and the possibility of death is “Boo” or “Super boo.” She even shoulders the bully’s redemption. Maddie and most characters are white; one cringe-inducing hallucinatory surgery dream involves “chanting island natives” and a “witch doctor lady.”

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62972-330-3

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

CHILDREN'S SOCIAL THEMES | CHILDREN'S HEALTH & DAILY LIVING

More by Chad Morris

THE WILD JOURNEY OF JUNIPER BERRY

by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

VIRTUALLY ME

by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown ; illustrated by Garth Bruner

WILLA AND THE WHALE

  • Discover Books Fiction Thriller & Suspense Mystery & Detective Romance Science Fiction & Fantasy Nonfiction Biography & Memoir Teens & Young Adult Children's
  • News & Features Bestsellers Book Lists Profiles Perspectives Awards Seen & Heard Book to Screen Kirkus TV videos In the News
  • Kirkus Prize Winners & Finalists About the Kirkus Prize Kirkus Prize Judges
  • Magazine Current Issue All Issues Manage My Subscription Subscribe
  • Writers’ Center Hire a Professional Book Editor Get Your Book Reviewed Advertise Your Book Launch a Pro Connect Author Page Learn About The Book Industry
  • More Kirkus Diversity Collections Kirkus Pro Connect My Account/Login
  • About Kirkus History Our Team Contest FAQ Press Center Info For Publishers
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Reprints, Permission & Excerpting Policy

© Copyright 2024 Kirkus Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Go To Top

Popular in this Genre

Close Quickview

Hey there, book lover.

We’re glad you found a book that interests you!

Please select an existing bookshelf

Create a new bookshelf.

We can’t wait for you to join Kirkus!

Please sign up to continue.

It’s free and takes less than 10 seconds!

Already have an account? Log in.

Sign in with Google

Trouble signing in? Retrieve credentials.

Almost there!

  • Industry Professional

Welcome Back!

Sign in using your Kirkus account

Contact us: 1-800-316-9361 or email [email protected].

Don’t fret. We’ll find you.

Magazine Subscribers ( How to Find Your Reader Number )

If You’ve Purchased Author Services

Don’t have an account yet? Sign Up.

about homework machine

  • Meet the Team
  • Literacy Research
  • Your bookmoji
  • Bookmoji Book Recommendations
  • Jazzy’s Bookshelf
  • Did You Know?
  • Asian Stories
  • Black Stories
  • Immigrant Stories
  • Indigenous Stories
  • Hispanic and Latine Stories
  • LGBTQ Stories
  • Administrators & Districts
  • Principals & Schools
  • Teachers & Librarians
  • ESSER Funds
  • All Collections
  • Spanish Collection
  • Bilingual Collection
  • Pre-K – Kindergarten
  • Hispanic/Latín Heritage
  • The Kindness Collection
  • Read-Alouds for Every Month
  • Bookelicious Presents
  • John Schu Live
  • Principals’ Clubhouse
  • School Library Refresh
  • Student Voice and Choice
  • Summer Reading
  • Jennifer LaGarde
  • Clare Landrigan
  • JoEllen McCarthy
  • Nawal Qarooni
  • Colby Sharp
  • Franki Sibberson
  • Stella Villalba
  • Free Events
  • Contact Your Sales Rep.
  • By Interest - All
  • By Grade - All
  • Picture Books - All
  • By Grade + Interest — K to 1st
  • By Grade + Interest — 2nd to 3rd
  • By Grade + Interest — 4th to 5th

Contact Sales Team

Please fill out the form below and we will respond as soon as possible.

The Homework Machine

by Dan Gutman (Author)

cms

WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog, helping you find library materials online.

Find books about:

  • Editorial reviews
  • Reader reviews
  • Product details

School Library Journal

A true classic - great choice, you are about to pre-order a book..

 alt=

The book won't be shipped before .

Add Book Review

Homework Machine

bookelicious-logo

Create an Account

To save to your personal wishlist and access other great Bookelicious features, including your bookmoji and reading log, please create an account or log in.

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!

  • Parent/Caregiver
  • School/District Administrator

Welcome to Bookelicious!

At Bookelicious, we feed kids’ passion for reading. Our professionally curated collection of great books plus our bookmoji-based book matching technology make it easy for kids to find books they truly want to read.

Motivating Kids to Read

Does your child like dogs or magic, superheroes or baseball? Bookelicious helps kids find books on topics they love. According to educators, more than 80% of children using Bookelicious find it easy to choose books they are motivated to read!

about homework machine

Making Reading Fun!

Bookelicious helps children explore their interests by choosing their favorite costumes, pets and accessories for their bookmojis. Based on these choices, we offer real-time, personalized book recommendations.

welcome-2

Really Great Books

At Bookelicious, we know what books children want to read because every one of our 17,000+ titles has been professionally curated by our team of librarians and teachers.

welcome-3

Join Bookelicious Today

jazzy_superhero

Purchase eWallet Credit

Uh-Oh. Looks like you were purchasing an eWallet Credit. Please complete the eWallet credit before adding books to your shopping cart.

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

Internet Archive Audio

about homework machine

  • This Just In
  • Grateful Dead
  • Old Time Radio
  • 78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings
  • Audio Books & Poetry
  • Computers, Technology and Science
  • Music, Arts & Culture
  • News & Public Affairs
  • Spirituality & Religion
  • Radio News Archive

about homework machine

  • Flickr Commons
  • Occupy Wall Street Flickr
  • NASA Images
  • Solar System Collection
  • Ames Research Center

about homework machine

  • All Software
  • Old School Emulation
  • MS-DOS Games
  • Historical Software
  • Classic PC Games
  • Software Library
  • Kodi Archive and Support File
  • Vintage Software
  • CD-ROM Software
  • CD-ROM Software Library
  • Software Sites
  • Tucows Software Library
  • Shareware CD-ROMs
  • Software Capsules Compilation
  • CD-ROM Images
  • ZX Spectrum
  • DOOM Level CD

about homework machine

  • Smithsonian Libraries
  • FEDLINK (US)
  • Lincoln Collection
  • American Libraries
  • Canadian Libraries
  • Universal Library
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Children's Library
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • Books by Language
  • Additional Collections

about homework machine

  • Prelinger Archives
  • Democracy Now!
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • TV NSA Clip Library
  • Animation & Cartoons
  • Arts & Music
  • Computers & Technology
  • Cultural & Academic Films
  • Ephemeral Films
  • Sports Videos
  • Videogame Videos
  • Youth Media

Search the history of over 866 billion web pages on the Internet.

Mobile Apps

  • Wayback Machine (iOS)
  • Wayback Machine (Android)

Browser Extensions

Archive-it subscription.

  • Explore the Collections
  • Build Collections

Save Page Now

Capture a web page as it appears now for use as a trusted citation in the future.

Please enter a valid web address

  • Donate Donate icon An illustration of a heart shape

The Homework Machine

Bookreader item preview, share or embed this item, flag this item for.

  • Graphic Violence
  • Explicit Sexual Content
  • Hate Speech
  • Misinformation/Disinformation
  • Marketing/Phishing/Advertising
  • Misleading/Inaccurate/Missing Metadata

[Amazon]

plus-circle Add Review comment Reviews

2,085 Views

15 Favorites

DOWNLOAD OPTIONS

No suitable files to display here.

IN COLLECTIONS

Uploaded by Unknown on September 5, 2012

SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)

Find anything you save across the site in your account

What a Sixty-Five-Year-Old Book Teaches Us About A.I.

By David Owen

An illustration of Danny Dunn at a retro computer with a glitch effect scattered throughout the composition.

Neural networks have become shockingly good at generating natural-sounding text, on almost any subject. If I were a student, I’d be thrilled—let a chatbot write that five-page paper on Hamlet’s indecision!—but if I were a teacher I’d have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the quality of student essays is about to go through the roof. On the other, what’s the point of asking anyone to write anything anymore? Luckily for us, thoughtful people long ago anticipated the rise of artificial intelligence and wrestled with some of the thornier issues. I’m thinking in particular of Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin, two farseeing writers, both now deceased, who, in 1958, published an early examination of this topic. Their book—the third in what was eventually a fifteen-part series—is “ Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine .” I first read it in third or fourth grade, very possibly as a homework assignment.

Danny Dunn, you may recall, is a “stocky and red-haired” elementary schooler. His father is dead, and he and his mother live with Professor Euclid Bullfinch, “a short, plump man with a round bald head,” who teaches at Midston University. Bullfinch “took the place of the father Danny had never known,” the book explains, and Mrs. Dunn supports herself and her son by working as his cook and housekeeper. We aren’t told how Danny’s father died—heart attack? car accident? murder?—and we know next to nothing about sleeping arrangements in the house. (“Now take your fingers out of my cake, Professor Bullfinch,” Mrs. Dunn says in the first book in the series.) But we do know that Bullfinch encourages Danny’s interest in science and lets him fool around in his private laboratory, which occupies “a long, low structure at the rear of the house.”

Danny’s best friend is Joe Pearson, “a thin, sad-looking boy”; his next-door neighbor is Irene Miller, whose father, an astronomer, also teaches at Midston. We can tell right away that Irene knows at least as much about science as Danny does—and way more than Joe, whose main academic interests are literary. As the story begins, Danny is demonstrating a recent invention of his: a piece of wood, suspended by clothesline from a pair of pulleys attached to the ceiling, into which he has inserted two pens. When he writes with either pen, the other creates a duplicate on a second sheet of paper. (This device is called a polygraph; Thomas Jefferson owned several.) “Now I can do our arithmetic homework while you’re doing our English homework,” he tells Joe. “It’ll save us about half an hour for baseball practice.” Joe runs home to get more clothesline, and Danny dreams of bigger things: “If only I could build some kind of a robot to do all our homework for us. . . .”

The boys don’t perceive a moral dilemma, but Irene does. “It—it doesn’t seem exactly honest to me,” she says. Danny disagrees, and cites his landlord: “Professor Bullfinch says that homework doesn’t have much to do with how a kid learns things at school.”

Williams and Abrashkin were all the way out at the cutting edge, technology-wise. In their first book, “ Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint ,” Danny and Bullfinch accidentally invent a liquid that causes anything coated with it to rise off the ground. That book was published in 1956, a year before the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 , but in Chapter 3 we learn that a similar satellite is already orbiting Earth, and is viewable through a telescope in Bullfinch’s lab. Long story short: the American government uses the paint on a spaceship, which accidentally lifts off while Danny, Joe, Bullfinch, and another scientist are inside it, having a look around. During their voyage, Danny completes an assignment that his teacher, Miss Arnold, has given him as punishment for daydreaming about rockets when he was supposed to be paying attention to her: writing “Space flight is a hundred years away” five hundred times.

Some of the scientific innovations portrayed in the Danny Dunn books are so advanced that they are still in the future—time travel, invisibility, smallification—but others have come into existence more or less as Williams and Abrashkin described them. In “ Danny Dunn and the Automatic House ,” published in 1965, Danny persuades the university to build what would nowadays be called a smart home ; it’s equipped with “the newest developments in electronic control systems,” including a voice-activated door lock, a Roomba-like self-propelled vacuum cleaner, and a bathtub that fills itself with water, adds soap, and announces, “Your bath is ready.” Danny’s mother is skeptical: “Once you start trying to save work by putting in machines, you may find you’re spending all your time taking care of the machines and not getting any fun out of your work. This kitchen is my studio—my laboratory, just like your laboratory, Professor. Would you want an automatic laboratory?”

Bullfinch says that he most certainly would not—but in “Homework Machine” we learn that he has built a computer with similar capabilities. It’s a scaled-down version of two mainframes that Williams and Abrashkin saw, during a visit to I.B.M., while they were researching their book. Bullfinch calls it Miniac:

A high panel at the back of the desk was filled with tiny light bulbs. There were a number of flat, square buttons, each with a colored panel above it. And beyond the desk was an oblong, gray metal cabinet, about the size of a large sideboard, with heavy electric cables leading to it.

An important difference between Miniac and the real computers of the nineteen-fifties—and another area in which Williams and Abrashkin were ahead of their time—is that its input medium is spoken English, not punched cards or paper tape. Danny asks Irene to demonstrate. She approaches the microphone and, following Bullfinch’s advice to “speak slowly and clearly so that Miniac can understand you and translate your words into electrical impulses,” says, “Um . . . John buys 20 yards of silk for thirty dollars. How much would 918 yards of silk cost him?” The professor presses a button, lights flash, and the typewriter responds: “$1,377.00.” After a pause, it adds, “And worth it.”

Any qualms that Irene has about getting help with her homework disappear when she discovers how much of it Miss Arnold assigns. One day, Irene asks Danny (at first, by shortwave radio) for help with a grammar exercise, and they meet in Bullfinch’s lab. Minny—as they now refer to the computer—defines “predicate noun” for her, and provides an example: “You are a fool .” Danny is suddenly inspired: “Why can’t we use Minny as a homework machine ?”

Bullfinch, conveniently, has asked Danny to keep an eye on Minny while he attends some important meetings in Washington, D.C. During the next few days, Danny, Irene, and Joe read large stacks of books into the microphone. As Danny explains, mainly to Joe, “Programming is telling the machine exactly what questions you want answered and how you want them answered. In order to do that right, you have to know just what sequences of operation you want the machine to go through.” When they’ve finished, Minny does their math problems for them, then starts on social studies.

“Man!” Joe says. “This is the way to do your homework. This is heaven!”

I hesitate to give away too much of the plot, but (spoiler alert!) two mean boys in their class, one of whom is jealous of Irene’s interest in Danny, watch them through a window and tattle to Miss Arnold. She comes to Danny’s house to confer with him and his mother—and you know that Danny is in trouble, because his mother suddenly starts calling him Dan. But he defends what he and his friends have been up to. Grocers and bankers now use adding machines instead of doing arithmetic the old-fashioned way, he says; why should students be different? Surprisingly, this argument works. Miss Arnold tells Danny that she wishes he wouldn’t let Minny do his homework, but that she won’t stop him.

Then the story becomes complicated. Irene tricks the jealous boy, Eddie (Snitcher) Philips, into revealing that he spied on them, then pushes him into a puddle. Eddie and his friend get revenge by sabotaging Minny. Bullfinch returns from Washington and is embarrassed when he tries to demonstrate Minny to two other scientists, one of whom is from the “Federal Research Council.” Danny saves the day by deducing that Eddie must have disconnected Minny’s temperature sensor; he reconnects it, and is treated as a hero. (This turn of events will be familiar to readers of the “Curious George” books, in which George is often praised for solving problems that he himself created.)

Bullfinch and one of the visiting scientists later program the repaired computer to write music, by giving it “full instructions for the composition of a sonata, plus information on note relationships,” and by modifying the typewriter so that it can print musical scores. Still, Bullfinch insists, Minny is limited in ways that humans are not. “It can never be the creator of music or of stories, or paintings, or ideas,” he says. “The machine can only help, as a textbook helps. It can only be a tool, as a typewriter is a tool.” He points out that Danny, in order to program Minny to do his homework, had to do the equivalent of even more homework, much of it quite advanced. (“Gosh, it—it somehow doesn’t seem fair,” Danny says.)

At least until recently, almost everyone has thought of computers in roughly that way. When Bullfinch and his friend play a sonata that Minny has written for them, Mrs. Dunn observes that “it isn’t exactly Beethoven”—and Bullfinch agrees. Yet Minny’s abilities clearly surpass those of a mere “tool.” The children “program” it by loading it with tagged examples, from which Minny somehow produces individualized schoolwork—a method that seems less like mid-twentieth-century programming than like the way that A.I. researchers create algorithms today. (Minny also editorializes , as with its comment about the price of silk and its example of a predicate noun.) Williams and Abrashkin foresaw a less serious practical use for artificial intelligence, too. “You know, we ought to enter her in one of those TV quiz shows,” Joe says in an early chapter, anticipating the “Jeopardy!” triumph, fifty-three years later, of I.B.M.’s Watson.

“Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine” is ostensibly about computers, but it also makes an argument about homework. In a note at the beginning of the book, Williams and Abrashkin write, “In all fairness to both Professor Bullfinch and Danny, we wish to point out that their position on homework is supported by Bulletin 1248-3 of the Educational Service Bureau, University of Pennsylvania.” I haven’t managed to turn up a copy of that bulletin, which was called “What About Homework?,” but I’ve found a number of other publications, from multiple decades, that arrive at what I assume are similar conclusions. For example, in 2007 the education critic Alfie Kohn—whose many books include “ The Homework Myth ,” published in 2018—wrote that “there is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school,” and that in high school “the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied.” One problem with homework is that it inevitably encourages the counterproductive over-involvement of parents. (When my kids were young, I suggested to one of their teachers that he conduct a science fair for fathers only.) There’s also the issue of homework whose sole purpose is to squeeze in material that should have been covered during the school day but wasn’t. Miss Arnold offers precisely that justification for some of her huge assignments: the size of her class has nearly doubled, because of rapid population growth in Midston, and she is no longer able to give individual students as much attention as she once did.

Miss Arnold also assigns homework for a suspect reason that’s described in a paper published under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Education, in 1988: “Punishing assignments exercise the teacher’s power to use up time at home that would otherwise be under the student’s control. The assignments often center on behavior rather than academic skills, and stress embarrassment rather than mastery.” That’s what she was up to with all those sentences she made Danny write, back in the first book in the series. Luckily for everyone, Danny handled his embarrassment with aplomb, by writing most of the sentences during downtime in outer space, and the mindlessness of the exercise did no permanent harm to his imagination. At the end of “Homework Machine”—as he, Irene, and Joe are heading to the drugstore to celebrate Minny’s resurrection—he suddenly has “a strange, wild look in his eyes, and a faraway smile on his lips.” He says, “This is just a simple idea I had. Listen—what about a teaching machine. . . .”

Irene, as always, knows better. “Grab his other arm, Joe,” she shouts. “He needs a soda—fast.” ♦

New Yorker Favorites

A prison therapist grapples with a sex offender’s release .

What have fourteen years of conservative rule done to Britain ?

Woodstock was overrated .

Why walking helps us think .

A whale’s strange afterlife .

The progressive politics of Julia Child .

I am thrilled to announce that nothing is going on with me .

Sign up for our daily newsletter to receive the best stories from The New Yorker .

about homework machine

Books & Fiction

By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement . This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

What George Miller Has Learned in Forty-five Years of Making “Mad Max” Movies

By Burkhard Bilger

The Pope Goes Prime-Time

By Paul Elie

Will Mexico Decide the U.S. Election?

By Stephania Taladrid

There Is Literally Nothing Trump Can Say That Will Stop Republicans from Voting for Him

By Susan B. Glasser

about homework machine

The Homework Machine › Customer reviews

Customer reviews.

The Homework Machine

The Homework Machine

Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

Top positive review

about homework machine

Top critical review

about homework machine

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

From the united states, there was a problem loading comments right now. please try again later..

about homework machine

  • ← Previous page
  • Next page →
  • About Amazon
  • Investor Relations
  • Amazon Devices
  • Amazon Science
  • Sell products on Amazon
  • Sell on Amazon Business
  • Sell apps on Amazon
  • Become an Affiliate
  • Advertise Your Products
  • Self-Publish with Us
  • Host an Amazon Hub
  • › See More Make Money with Us
  • Amazon Business Card
  • Shop with Points
  • Reload Your Balance
  • Amazon Currency Converter
  • Amazon and COVID-19
  • Your Account
  • Your Orders
  • Shipping Rates & Policies
  • Returns & Replacements
  • Manage Your Content and Devices
  • Amazon Assistant
 
 
 
   
  • Conditions of Use
  • Privacy Notice
  • Consumer Health Data Privacy Disclosure
  • Your Ads Privacy Choices

about homework machine

IMAGES

  1. Make DIY Homework Writing Machine at Home

    about homework machine

  2. How to Make Homework Writing Machine at home

    about homework machine

  3. The Homework Machine eBook by Dan Gutman

    about homework machine

  4. How to make a Homework machine for Students

    about homework machine

  5. How To Make Homework Writing Machine at Home

    about homework machine

  6. 2018.how to make homework machine for students at home

    about homework machine

VIDEO

  1. How to Make Homework Writing Machine at Home Science Project

  2. Cast of The Homework Machine on WERS

  3. Student Homework Machine 🤯📝

  4. Student Homework Machine #gadgets

  5. The Homework Machine Chapter 7-9 by Dan Gutman audiobook

  6. Student Homework machine

COMMENTS

  1. The Homework Machine (The Homework Machine, #1) by Dan Gutman

    9,144 ratings631 reviews. DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST. The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework ...

  2. The Homework Machine

    The Homework Machine. Paperback - June 26, 2007. by Dan Gutman (Author) 4.6 783 ratings. Book 1 of 2: The Homework Machine. Teachers' pick. See all formats and editions. Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a ...

  3. "The Homework Machine " Summary and Study Guide

    The Homework Machine, written by acclaimed American author Dan Gutman was first published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and is the first of a two-book series.The second book, The Return of the Homework Machine, was published in 2011.Gutman is primarily a children's fiction writer who has been nominated for and won numerous awards, including 18 for The Homework Machine ...

  4. The Homework Machine

    Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine.

  5. The Homework Machine: Gutman, Dan: 9780689876783: Amazon.com: Books

    The Homework Machine. Hardcover - March 1, 2006. The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start ...

  6. The Homework Machine

    Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention.

  7. The Homework Machine

    The Homework Machine. The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam "Snick," Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time ...

  8. The Homework Machine

    The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker — Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively, — are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together ...

  9. The Homework Machine

    DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of ...

  10. The Homework Machine Kindle Edition

    Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending ...

  11. The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman (The Homework Machine, #1)

    DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker - Brenton, Sam Snick, Judy and Kelsey, respectively, - are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine.

  12. The Homework Machine

    Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine.

  13. THE HOMEWORK MACHINE

    The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker—Brenton, Sam, Judy and Kelsey, respectively—are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of ...

  14. The Homework Machine

    The Homework Machine. Starting with a stern statement from the Grand Canyon, Arizona Police Chief Rebecca Fish, meet four fifth graders in big trouble. There's long-haired, rebellious, cool guy Sam Dawkins; fun-loving, unacademic, pink-haired Kelsey Donnelly, African American grind Judy Douglas, and friendless genius Brenton Damagatchi.

  15. The Homework Machine Series by Dan Gutman

    Book 2. Return of the Homework Machine. by Dan Gutman. 3.96 · 928 Ratings · 91 Reviews · published 2009 · 5 editions. Snik, Brenton, Judy, and Kelsey haven't stayed in …. Want to Read. Rate it: The Homework Machine (The Homework Machine, #1) and Return of the Homework Machine (The Homework Machine, #2)

  16. THE HOMEWORK MACHINE

    When fifth-graders Judy, Sam and Kelsey discover their classmate Brenton Damagatchi's homework machine, they think they are on to a good thing and begin to visit him regularly after school. Alphabetically seated at the same table, the brilliant Asian-American computer geek, hardworking, high-achieving African-American girl, troubled army brat and ditzy girl with pink hair would seem to have ...

  17. The Homework Machine

    The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam Snick, Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don't ...

  18. The Homework Machine (2 book series) Kindle Edition

    Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine.

  19. The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman, Paperback

    Doing homework becomes a thing of the past! Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending ...

  20. The Homework Machine : Gutman, Dan : Free Download, Borrow, and

    The Homework Machine. Four fifth-grade students --- a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker --- as well as their teacher and mothers, each relate events surrounding a computer programmed to complete homework assignments.

  21. The Homework Machine (The Homework Machine, #1) by Dan Gutman

    March 31, 2017. This book is about 4 kids named Brenton, Sam, Judy, and Kelsey. Brenton builds a homework machine and soon the other 3 kids find out about it. Brenton and Judy are really smart and they do not need the machine. Sam and Kelsey on the other hand really need the machine.

  22. What a Sixty-Five-Year-Old Book Teaches Us About A.I

    At the end of "Homework Machine"—as he, Irene, and Joe are heading to the drugstore to celebrate Minny's resurrection—he suddenly has "a strange, wild look in his eyes, and a faraway ...

  23. Amazon.com: Customer reviews: The Homework Machine

    THE HOMEWORK MACHINE is presented in the format of characters taking turns narrating into a recording device the progression of events that have taken place over the past school year. The narration is being done at the direction of the police.