By Arnoldus Hoefnagel at April 14 2019 20:10:01
I have said "Don't Use Worksheets" about every way there is to say it, and each time I have included solid brain_based, researched reasons for this statement; and yet, I know that many people will ignore the science in favor of the convenience. It is very difficult to fight the tide when there are so many internet sites pushing worksheets at parents, and so many reputable textbook companies doing likewise. It is difficult to remember the reasons to avoid them when one has very little time to devote to working with math. Worksheets just seem so much easier than doing things any other way. Can they really cause harm?
Never allow boredom to set in. We know now that when learning is fun and exciting, the brain is actually growing many new dendrites that make connections with many other dendrites. The more connections the better. We also know now that boredom destroys dendrites. Small children quickly become bored with worksheets, especially skill and drill worksheets. Yet another reason to avoid skill and drill worksheets like the plague. Never allow your child to use a worksheet unsupervised. Some parents use worksheets to provide time to fix supper or add another load of laundry. Unfortunately, while you aren't looking, your child just might have practiced a mistake several times. The time you thought you saved isn't nearly as much time as it will take to fix that mistake.
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.
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.