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.
Sites offering free math worksheets abound on the Internet. So what should free math worksheets look like? Are you searching for worksheets that have lots of problems for paper_pencil completion? Or is the illusive long division worksheet your quest? Finding the answers to these questions depends largely on personal preferences...and more importantly who will be completing your freely printed math worksheets. Here are 10 criteria to keep in mind when selecting free arithmetic worksheets to use with students.