If your classroom is still in a virtual or hybrid setting, it can make celebrating Valentine’s Day a little tricky. Sadly, that may mean a year without physically exchanging cards, but you can still create a “party” like setting. The secret is to make your students feel included no matter where they are! Invite students to dress the part with whatever red or pink they may have. Decorate your teaching space with hearts. Most importantly, individually let your students know how loved they are. Especially if they are learning from home, this school year can feel very isolating. Send out digital valentine cards or give your students some one-on-one face time. If you feel comfortable, make home deliveries to drop off some Valentine’s cheer. Even a few moments of your time can mean the world to your students.
Additionally, Valentine’s Day is an incredible teaching moment too. Our Heart Unit goes over a wide range of Topics from How the Heart Works to Heart Problems, and yes, Valentine’s Day. Keep your students learning with these engaging, cross-curricular activity ideas. We also offer some tips to include your virtual students and to make the holiday feel special.
Engage your students’ prior knowledge and get them excited to learn with this Get Set to Read Worksheet. They will make predictions on what they think they know about the Heart. As they read, they will prove their answer and find out if their guess was correct.
The first paragraph of The Heart’s Purpose and Function says, “As you read this, your heart is pumping about five quarts of blood throughout your body.” Use this information to introduce the liquid measurements of gallon, quart, pint, and cup. Bring in a variety of clean containers that hold these amounts, such as milk and orange juice jugs and cartons, and a liquid measuring cup. Measure out five quarts of water and pour it into a bucket to show students approximately how much blood is in their bodies. Next, ask students to look at the containers and estimate how many cups are in a pint, how many pints are in a quart, and so on. Then students can pour water into the containers to find out the exact measurements. Finally, have students create math problems using these numbers: How many pints are in one gallon? How many pints are in five quarts? How many cups are in one quart?
Either virtually or in-person, invite the school nurse or a local nurse or doctor to visit your class. Before the visit, ask students to come up with several appropriate questions about the nurse’s or doctor’s profession in medicine (not his or her personal life). You or other students can review the questions ahead of time to make sure they are worded well and have potentially interesting answers. Have students write down their questions on this Ask An Expert Printable.
After reading Keeping the Heart Health Topic, work together with the physical education teacher to teach students where to find and how to take their heart rates. If you are in a virtual school setting, invite them to join your class via Zoom or create a prerecorded video to embed in your lesson. Have students take their heart rate throughout the day, and after different activities. How does their heart rate while sitting at their desks compare to after they run in place or walk down the halls? With this Track Your Heart Rate Printable, students can record their results and answer the question, how did they feel after each activity? This is also a great excuse to get your students moving and out of their seats!
Have each student write a short essay telling which patient should be first in line to get a heart transplant—the sickest, the youngest, the most famous, the one most likely to survive the operation, the first to sign up? Students should state their opinion and then support it with several reasons. Have students read their papers aloud. A discussion might follow in which students discuss whether or not any idea presented in any paper helped them see the situation in a new light.