Do Math Worksheets Really Work? What We Found May Surprise You.
We get it. Most students and teachers think that the word "worksheet" is a synonym for the word "boring." We envision hours of sitting still at a desk-silent busy work for them and hours of grading for us. But do worksheets still have a place in your classroom? In an age of open inquiry and problem-based learning, can we still find power in a simple paper and pencil activity?
Here's the reality: your students need time and opportunities to practice new skills. They need a chance to review past concepts. They need opportunities to solidify understanding and extend their learning. Whether you are a first-year teacher, or veteran expert, finding the most effective way to do this can be a challenge. We were shocked to find that well-designed worksheets can do all that (and more!)
Here are three types of math worksheets that can and do work and three ways you can use them in your classroom starting today!
Worksheets that work: Are Brain Building Not Busy Work.
Say it with me: "No more busy work!" Your students don't want it. It's pointless and they know it. But what if that bell work or that solution for early finishers was a brain building worksheet? This type of worksheet can work! This isn't the dreaded drill and kill. Math puzzles are powerful worksheets than can help in building number sense, computational thinking, and problem solving. The problem? Teachers don't have time to create new and exciting math puzzles each week. Luckily, we found some grade-level appropriate solutions. Check out the work the folks at edHelper.com have been doing and take advantage of the free downloads you can use in your classroom starting today. These particular puzzles are a combination of Sodoku and Magic Squares. You can pick the size and difficulty of the puzzle. What a great way to provide differentiated brain-building work for all of the different learners in your class. Download the version that will best meet the needs of each of your students!
Worksheets that work: Communicate Understanding of Concepts.
Math standards are about understanding. We want our students to be able to understand content and concepts. We also want to stretch them to think and approach problems in new ways. This editable graphic organizer can help them do that! Challenge your students to solve a math problem more than one way. Have them explain how and why they solved it with their given strategy. Use this worksheet as a springboard for great class discussion.
Worksheets that work: Take the Difficulty out of Differentiation.
Your classroom is filled with students whose strengths and needs are as varied as the months between January and June feel long! While we may feel like we spend the majority of our time and energy trying to get our struggling learners back up to grade level, what are we doing to help our advanced students? What if a well-designed worksheet could help them soar? We've found these monthly math challenges to be extremely effective in the classroom. These are not your typical math practice books. They combine problem solving, life skills, and enhance critical thinking. It allowed our advanced learners to work at their ability level and gave them a chance to use the productive struggle to their advantage. Bonus: There are brand new ones posted to the site EVERY month!
We're certainly not saying you should ditch your inquiry and organized classroom chaos and swap it for a daily dose of nothing but paper-and-pencil practice. Digging into the worksheet world, however, showed us that there is a wealth of great worksheets out there waiting for you. Do worksheets really work? The good ones absolutely do!
Looking for more? Check out these top ten hard-to-make-on-your-own but oh-so-easy-to-use worksheets!
10 Math Worksheets That Work
Bonus Idea: Free Math Worksheets