At a Glance


  • Interdisciplinary

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University


  • Any

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Collecting & seeking information
  • Discussing
  • Solving problems
  • Analyzing
  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Debating
  • Revising & improving
  • Writing

Technical Details

Class size

  • Very small (< 20)
  • Small (20-49)
  • Medium (50-99)
  • Large (100-250)
  • Very Large (>250)


  • Brief segment of class period (< 20 mins)


Worksheets should be used to help guide students through their learning and understanding of a topic. In order to get them to actively engage with the material, and develop critical thinking skills and techniques appropriate to the subject matter or field, they need to practice the thinking process related to that topic or discipline. Worksheets are designed to help scaffold the thinking process and allow students to learn how to think like a professional in the discipline.

Worksheet activities can take on many different forms. The key components are:
– A source of information that will give the students the content knowledge they need to work with (e.g. Course readings, in class presentations, research of additional sources)
-A document with structured and scaffold prompts that guide students through the thought process for that topic.
-A point where the students can consolidate their understanding and verify their responses with a model that demonstrates the correct answer or a strong response.

Worksheet activities can be done in various ways in class, incorporating moments where they work alone, with others in small groups, are as a whole class. The goal is to get the student not just to think about the response but to apply their understanding by writing it out on the worksheet. This will then create an artifact that both the student and the teacher can use to evaluate and verify the student’s understanding of the topic.


Instructional Objectives

  • To help students apply their knowledge and understanding of a topic by developing their ability to critically think through a process or subject.

Workflow & Materials

Contributor's Notes

Jen Mitchell

Jen Mitchell

Vanier College, Montreal

  • It helps students by taking a step-by-step approach to the topic and helps them practice their own critical analysis and thinking skills. The worksheets help students understand the topic in a more structured way and then help them better apply that knowledge to a new topic or situation.
  • Students don’t always know how best to approach using a worksheet for their own learning. They will often treat it as an object they have to fill out to satisfy the teacher. It helps if you can get the students to recognize the value of the worksheet by incorporating it as a note-taking type of activity. The following suggestions can help mitigate this issue:
    • Link your worksheets as directly as possible to any assessments they will do in the course. For instance, if you want students to be able to discuss specific examples on the test or their written work, have them do a worksheet that walks through exactly what and how they should explain it for the test. Letting them know beforehand that this is an example that can be used in their assessments also helps. Once students see that it is on their evaluations, they become much more invested in the worksheets.
    • Use worksheets often. It will take some time before students learn how best to use the worksheets for their own understanding. Once they have discovered how to use them for note-taking and to help them structure their understanding, they will be much more engaged in doing the worksheets as well as they can.
  • Try to align your worksheets with specific documents or sources for the content information. Students will often want a resource to use as they do the worksheet. This doesn’t mean the answers need to come directly from the book. You can incorporate more analytical and even metacognitive questions later in the worksheet, but you need to scaffold up to them.
  • Review and revise your worksheets often. When you develop your worksheet you are trying to go through the thinking process involved from one step to the next, or one idea to the next. They will seem obvious to you but they might not be to the students. Watch how they interact with the worksheet in class. Places, where they struggle, will need adjustments. Don’t worry about it at the time, just help the students as best you can, but make a note so you can make changes to the worksheet for future rounds. You will probably go through this process a number of times before you have a final version.
  • When doing the consolidation or verification stage you can change up the approach if it just isn’t working for one of your classes. For example, normally you might end the worksheet session with a group discussion going over the answers and sharing exemplary examples. However, if many of the students in your class aren’t writing responses and are just “waiting for the right answers” you can stop doing the class discussions and just consult with individual groups to confirm and verify their work.