The heart shape is fantastically useful for teaching all sorts of mathematical problems, including geometry. Have your child cut out a heart shape from paper and use it to help them understand symmetry. How many lines of symmetry does a Heart Have? Help kids learn about patterns by using colored hearts or a series of Valentine's Day pictures. Introduce them to simple patterns; for instance red heart, green heart, red heart. From here you can make the patterns more complex by making them longer or including a higher degree of variation. Valentine's Day is a perfect opportunity for educating your child about many math problems; from simple arithmetic and word problems to patterning and geometry. There are many ideas to choose from that you're sure to find engaging and rewarding for both you and your child. So give them a try next Valentine's Day and see if your child will be struck by Cupid's arrow and feel the love for math.
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.