By Cameron Dyett at April 14 2019 01:50:07
Then along came digital copiers and the purple_ink mimeograph machine disappeared. But the teaching tool that the mimeograph machine spawned _ the worksheet _ has lived on... and on... and on. For decades _ literally decades _ teachers have been enamored with worksheets. So what is the bottom line? Are worksheets a serious teaching tool or an over_used form of busy work? The answer, of course, is both.
Use Worksheets Sparingly _ Since free multiplication worksheets are so easy to find, it's tempting to give your child too many. You mean well, but it just seems like a good idea to have them do several at a time. Little brains can only take so much. Keep learning fun by sprinkling worksheets into their curriculum as a fun break from their usual textbook. Keep it Fun _ If you happen to have a competitive child, chances are he will love worksheets always trying to beat his last time. This is great and if this is the case, let him work all of the worksheets he wants. Just be sure that it is "child_driven" not "parent_driven" meaning _ let it be his idea.
Problems should use the Courier font. Why? Every Courier font character uses the same amount of space. A comma is the same width as the number 5. This means that all of the numbers line up perfectly for carrying during addition and bringing the zero down in division. Are the problems too close together? Make sure you can distinguish between the problem number and the actual problems. The problem numbers should be less obtrusive. Students with and without ADD and ADHD can become distracted by too many distractions!? Are there too many problems on the page? Some authors attempt to pack in the problems, leaving little room for students to show their work. The opposite can also be the case. Maybe there are not enough problems to accurately assess student knowledge.
So the next time you do a search for curriculum materials, skip the worksheets. Instead, consider resources that provide interactive experiences or consider sites that provide students with challenging problems. These sites will more likely engage students, foster discussion, and build a true understanding of the purpose and joy of learning math.