Worksheet (WS) has unfortunately come to represent a 4 letter word in the world of education. But lets be realistic, at some point our students simply must write things down! This is a proven way to help learning! No matter how much districts and principles may want to see fun activities there is not only a time and a place but also a great NEED for worksheets or rather paper-pencil assignments.
In my chemistry classroom, I generally use worksheets and worksheets only for the at least 1-2 weeks while teaching orbital configuration, electron configuration, and noble gas configuration. Simply put - the students need to practice determining information and then writing that information down! Now, during this arduous time of paper-pencil work (WS), I might try to incorporate some kind of fun review activity at the end of each class to keep things more interesting. Regardless, I recognize that paper and pencil is one of the best ways for my students to practice and learn this material. It might not be fun. It might not make me popular. It might not make me the best teacher in the eyes of the administration, but ultimately, it will help my students learn. Learn! Ultimately, that is the goal - learning! (Please note - I do not encourage in any way that you go against the administrations guidelines! While the administrations I worked under like activities and fun assignments, I was always given freedom to choose what was best for my students - including worksheets.)
When students feel like a concept is explained well, when students feel like a problem is do-able, and when students feel like they are capable of finding the correct answer, they are much more engaged in paper-pencil work. Spending time explaining a topic well and then practicing the content with students before releasing them to complete the work on their own can greatly increase student confidence and desire to complete those paper-pencil assignments.
Take a look at some of the WS or the fancier term - paper-pencil assignments - that I believe are an integral part of the beginning of any chemistry class. All of the following can be found at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Chemistry-With-Confidence (Note...each of the following images are copyrighted as are each of the assignments!)
"Reading the Periodic Table Practice..." WS
"Bohr Diagrams" WS
"Electron Configuration Rules WS"
Happy Teaching :)
- Founder of Chemistry with Confidence