Are you tired of boring math worksheets? Cooperative learning strategies are one of my absolute favorite ways to make boring worksheets an engaging experience! They operate on the principles that all students want to move, talk to their peers, and reach common goals. Why not harness this for success in math?

I am a big believer in NOT reinventing the wheel when it comes to making plans for the classroom. Why in the world would you spend your precious time creating something new when someone else has already done that? Instead, I suggest you use math worksheets you already have and integrate them with cooperative learning strategies to use them in a different way.

**Note: math task cards are also a perfect fit for any of these activities!

In this post, I will be sharing five of my favorite, easy-to-use, cooperative learning strategies for math worksheets. These strategies can be used with just about any math worksheet at any level of math and will instantly bring a new degree of engagement to your math block!

## Cooperative Learning Strategy #1 for Math Worksheets

Find Someone Who is one of my favorite cooperative learning strategies for math worksheets when I am short on time. It requires each student to have their own math worksheet and writing instrument.

- Students stand up with their math worksheet and writing instrument and find a partner.
- Partners trade papers.
- Each partner solves a problem or answers a question on the worksheet they received from their partner and writes their name by their answer.
- Partners get their own papers back and check the new work.
- If they agree with the answer, they thank their partner and repeat the process with new partners until all questions are answered or time runs out. If they disagree with the answer, they work together to come to an agreement.

**Two caveats to this one that I place on students…**1. They cannot go back to the same partner again until they have traded with every student in the class.

2. They have to answer a different question as many times as possible.

These are both easy to monitor because each student must write their name next to their answer, so if you see the same name on a student’s paper over and over again you know something is up. Also, if you see the same name on the same problem on multiple papers, you know the deal.

**Why is Find Someone Who so great for math worksheets?**

Students are given the opportunity to get up and move around the room while working with multiple people.

**What is the teacher doing while students complete this cooperative learning strategy?**

As the facilitator, you are walking around and listening for any confusion. You are also available to answer any questions as they arise.

## Cooperative Learning Strategy #2

The Heads Together cooperative learning strategy is going to be a classroom favorite for you, I can feel it already. For this strategy, you will need one math worksheet for the whole class as well as a whiteboard and dry erase marker for each student. Students should be seated in teams of four.

- The teacher reads the question aloud and displays it so that everyone can see it.
- Students are given think time.
- Students use their whiteboard and dry erase marker to solve the problem, placing their board face down to signify they are done working.
- The teacher announces, “Heads together!”
- Students turn over their boards and discuss their answers with their team. If they agree, they erase their boards and wait for the next step. If they disagree, they must work together to come to a consensus before erasing their boards.
- The teacher calls on one student per team to share out the answer.
- The class discusses the answer and clears up any misconceptions before repeating the process with the next question.

**Why is Heads Together so great for math worksheets?**

Students work out each question on their own but are given the safety net of comparing and discussing answers with their teammates before having to provide their final answer.

Heads Together also happens to be the strategy I use when playing Stinky Feet with my students.

**What is the teacher doing while students complete this cooperative learning strategy?**

This cooperative learning strategy is much more teacher-led, so you will be reading the questions and calling for students to meet with their teams as well as asking for the answer to each question. While students are working, you can walk from team to team to see how students are doing on their own whiteboards and help out with any disagreements among teams.

## Cooperative Learning Strategy #3

Scholar and Scriptor requires partners to have one math worksheet and a writing instrument per pair.

- The first partner sits and is the scriptor with the writing instrument and the math worksheet.
- The second partner stands behind their partner and is the scholar.
- The scholar reads the question aloud and does all the thinking out loud, telling the scriptor exactly how to answer the question or complete the work.
- The scriptor either praises a correct answer or coaches the scholar to fix a mistake.
- After each question, partners switch roles and positions and begin the next problem.

**Why is Scholar and Scriptor so great for math worksheets?**

It makes thinking visible. By having to explain how to solve a problem, the scholar is using metacognitive qualities to think through the solution and explain it to their partner.

**What is the teacher doing while students complete this cooperative learning strategy?**

As the facilitator, you are walking around and listening in on students’ conversations. This way, you are able to support students in the problem-solving process as well as clear up any misconceptions as they arise.

## Cooperative Learning Strategy #4

The Fan & Pick strategy is a great strategy to use with task cards on any subject, but you can also use a math worksheet and simply cut the questions apart.

- Establish a group of four.
- Use the “role placemat” to assign roles to students.
- The “role placemat” simply has the jobs for each student in the group including:
- Fan out the cards
- Choose a card and read the question to the group
- Answer the question
- Praise or Coach

- The “role placemat” simply has the jobs for each student in the group including:
- Student A then fans out the cards and says, “Pick a card, any card!”
- Student B chooses a card at random and reads it to the group.
- Student C answers the question.
- Student D either praises or coaches student C (if coaching, I teach “Tip, tip, tell”; see details below.)
- The “role placemat” is rotated so that student A becomes student B and so forth, and the process is repeated.
- Continue to repeat the process for your allotted time.

**Why is Fan & Pick so great for math worksheets?**

This strategy gets students working together, and though only one student is answering the question, all students are actively engaged in the process while hearing the question and answer.

**What is the teacher doing while students complete this cooperative learning strategy?**

Similar to some of the other team-based strategies, the teacher is moving around the room monitoring discussions and helping when necessary.

## Cooperative Learning Strategy #5

The final strategy I have for you today is going to be Musical Partners which is best used for mental math or quick solve math worksheets.

- All students stand up.
- Teacher turns on music.
- Students walk or dance around the room.
- Teacher turns off the music.
- Students partner up with the peer closest to them.
- Teacher asks a question.
- Think time is given.
- Partners share their answers with one another and come to a consensus.
- Teacher calls on one partner set for the answer and goes over the question if necessary.
- Music is turned back on and steps 3–10 are repeated for the duration of the activity with new questions.

**Why is Musical Partners so great for math worksheets?**

This strategy is almost like taking a brain break while still squeezing in a little more math. Students get to move around the room and, depending on the music you choose, rock out a bit.

**What is the teacher doing while students complete this cooperative learning strategy?**

If you are able to control the music while also walking around the room yourself, this is best so that you can monitor students and check for any needed help along the way. If this is not possible, try and wander around while students are working with their partners before returning to the music control following each turn.

## What’s Your Favorite Strategy for Math Worksheets?

Did I miss your top choice? Let me know! I am always excited to try out new strategies.

Need materials? Check out these task cards for a plethora of math questions that can be used with any of these strategies.