By Tyler Kirk at April 15 2019 14:44:04
Here are reasons why math worksheets don't work if you want students to understand math, enjoy math, and think mathematically. Math worksheets are not engaging. Numerous research studies have found that when students are actively engaged with the content, they have a much better chance of understanding and remembering what they have learned. Unfortunately, math worksheets tend to bore most students, especially those who need the most help in math.
Math worksheets don't promote communication and collaboration _ Math worksheets are often assigned as an independent activity, however research indicates that communication and discourse are needed to build a deep understanding of math topics. Students need opportunities to explore mathematical ideas in different ways and to build their own connections. This involves communicating their ideas, listening to the ideas of others, arguing a viewpoint, describing, and explaining. Math worksheets are rarely used as a catalyst for conversation. Instead of assigning worksheets, find activities that encourage discourse, such as "number talks," or collaborative group work. During the session, be sure to require students to explain their thinking and listen to the strategies and thinking of their peers.
If the materials do not specifically indicate "brain_based," determine if they are at least "brain_friendly." This would mean that you are looking for lots of color, material interesting to the child, many varied activities_especially involving movement, and using several of the senses. I saw one company whose worksheets included the instruction to "say the number out loud as you..." This is very good! Speaking out loud is very important for learning to occur. Ideally, all worksheets should include this instruction. If you can't find any that do, then you need to add that instruction yourself. NEVER use "skill and drill" worksheets. These are the worksheets just made up of columns of problems. There are better materials out there, so don't resort to skill and drill. The very worst problem of skill and drill worksheets is the greatly increased chance of a practiced mistake. The same problem will likely appear several times on the same sheet. A wrong answer once means a wrong answer several times; and a practiced mistake takes hundreds of correct repetitions to fix. This danger alone is important enough to never use any worksheet. I am quite serious about how difficult it is to repair a practiced mistake. Learning is hard enough. Re_learning is much more difficult.