Tips for teaching math on Valentine's Day
Integrate math into your Valentine's ideas. Teach math vocabulary as children create greeting cards, then have the kids graph how many hearts they used to create their favorite Valentine (see below).
Keep Valentine's Day activities open ended to involve children at a wide range of developmental levels and to give yourself more time to observe the students and note areas where individual or small group instruction will be beneficial.
Open ended activities enable children to work at their own level and they do not have to compare their efforts to fifteen identical worksheets.
Valentine's ideas - Review and teach math vocabulary as children make cards
- Ask a parent helper to cut quantities of small, medium and large hearts in pink, purple and red.
- Supply glue sticks, tape, bits of red ribbon, glittery scraps and Valentine's Day and other gummed shape stickers.
- Demonstrate making cards with cut out hearts and then let the children create freely.
- Students can copy the samples or create any other card they like. Some kids prefer to glue their picture to a folded paper background, like the cat card on the right.
Review math vocabulary:
- Use math terms small, smallest, smaller, etc. and position words such as beside, between, above, below, in front of, behind, over, under, top, bottom, left, right, closer while working with and observing the children
- For best effects, limit the colors of felt markers the children use. This avoids a lovely card being covered in black marker lines!
- Show flower heart cards, dog and cat heart cards, like the samples shown.
Tape your samples on chart paper that also contains illustrated lists of Valentine words - to, from, Mummy, Daddy, and I love you. Reuse this every year as it is a great time-saver.
Teach or review symmetry on Valentines Day with butterfly cards
I am always impressed by the creativity of young children as they observe my samples, then confidently create original art using similar techniques.
Valentine's Ideas - Graph the number of hearts
- Children choose one greeting card to add to a graph.
- The children count the number of hearts they used to make their Valentines.
- Children stick that number of heart shaped Post It Notes™ to the graph .
- This makes a cheerful bulletin board display.
More Math Valentine's ideas
- Preparation: Cut out or photocopy two valentine hearts per child, one about 6 inches across, one about 3 inches across.
- Child lines up one inch blocks across the widest part of each heart counting as they do so.
- Child records on each heart how many blocks they used to cover the widest part of each heart.
- Teach vocabulary - widest, narrowest.
- Using the same two hearts as above, have each child turn the hearts over and place one inch blocks on to them until both heart surfaces are entirely covered in blocks.
- Child counts and records how many blocks it took to cover each heart.
- For more info on how to teach about areas, see...
Number & Operations:
- Preparation: Cut out 3 or 4 sets of different colored hearts.
- Randomly give children one heart each and have about ten kids take turns placing them in a row in the pocket chart.
- Have the whole class count in a group, how many red hearts, how many blue hearts, how many pink hearts.
- Have the rest of the children place their hearts in rows in the pocket chart and count again. Record numbers on whiteboard beside an image of that color heart.
- For addition and subtraction: Use the same hearts that are already in rows in the pocket chart. Place 3 red hearts and 2 pink hearts in a different row in the pocket chart. Say, "3 red hearts and 2 pink hearts equal how many hearts all together?" Use different variations of addition and subtraction.
- Optional: Place matching numbers and symbol cards for "+, -, =" under the hearts in the row beneath.
All Valentines day pages:
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