I believe in the importance of mathematics in our daily lives and it is critical that we nurture our kids with a proper math education. Mathematics involves pattern and structure; it's all about logic and calculation. Understanding of these math concepts are also needed in understanding science and technology. Learning math is quite difficult for most kids. As a matter of fact, it causes stress and anxiety to parents. How much stress our kids go through?
Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don't understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what's needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student's frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that "I'll never understand math." A cute image or a "fill_in_the_blanks" riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let's face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.