In this modern, technology lead world it is easy to overlook the importance of basic mathematics and mental arithmetic. When every mobile phone has a calculator built in, and every website automatically adds up your shopping cart, who needs to add up in their head? The fact is that mathematics is a vital life skill and as adults we know it is something we use every day in our adult lives. We know that it is essential that we teach our children how to do maths from a young age, but sometimes it is easy to overlook the simple steps we can take at home. We can all remember learning our times_tables at school _ one times one is one, two times two is four, and so on _ but there was a reason why we learnt this way, because it works. But it's not just about learning the times tables in sequence through repetition, it's important to get kids practicing with varying levels of multiplication problem. Working through problems and then checking the answers afterwards is a simple way to practice multiplying numbers.
From a teacher's perspective our competition is tough. Passing out a handout of 30 problems that are all in a format of 534x25= is not as stimulating in the students' eyes as playing games such as Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil. Granted, that will always be a tough uphill battle for math to win out over most video games, but the point is, students today are much more immersed in technology than ever before. So even if you need to pass out a math worksheet to review concepts and formulas, it will greatly benefit your cause if you design the worksheet to be as stimulating as possible. Therefore creativity is a must for worksheets to be successful. Regardless if you are trying to review math, science, reading, writing, health, or social studies, your goal should always be to try and create something that will generate desire in the students to actually want to do it. If you can do this, the battle is practically over already. For example, since I want to make sure my students get accustomed to reviewing the various math concepts and standards we've learned all year, I have them practice regularly. I want them to get to a point where they are so familiar with grade level math content, that solving these types of problems becomes automatic.