Valentine's Day STEM: warm-ups and activities

Do you LOVE Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)? If your answer is yes, then we would be great friends. The thing is though, that isn’t really an accurate statement. As Destin Sandlin from Smarter Every Day  has pointed out, saying “I love science,” (or technology, engineering, or math) is like saying “I love hammer” because they are really just tools. What I really love is using STEM to find creative solutions to the world’s problems. Don’t you love solving the world’s problems while having fun and getting creative? Awesome. We’re on the same page then.

STEM is not about finding THE answer, as there is almost always more than one way to solve a problem. Encourage creativity while exercising those young minds! Here are some warm-up prompt ideas to get those lovely lobes thinking and in the mood for some Valentine’s Day STEM:

Ask your students/kids to…

1.       Design a system to deliver Valentine’s Day cards quickly. At least one part of the system must incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math.

2.       Write a story about an alien bringing one aspect of science, technology, engineering, or math to Earth and giving it to humans as a Valentine’s Day gift.

3.       Draw a vehicle made out of candy. How would the engine work? What makes the wheels turn? How much of each type of candy would be needed for everyone in your class to have their own vehicle? Estimate the cost by assigning each candy type a price.

4.       Think of a job that you would not love to have. Write a Valentine’s Day card to “Mr. or Mrs. [job title]” thanking them for doing their job and say how you would use science, technology, engineering, or math to improve what they do or make it more fun.

5.       See how many STEM words you can come up with from the letters in “Valentine’s Day Hearts, Hugs, and Kisses”.  Here is a start: “lever”, “industry”, “larva”, “survey”, “Tesla”


In this season of love, you will also fancy the following Valentine’s Day STEM activities.  These two resources will get kids excited about using their STEM skills to solve a sweet (candy!) problem and help them exercise off all of that sugar with some fun real-world math.

First up, kids will use the engineering design process in this Candy Grabber Math and Engineering Activity

Students will work in teams to design and build a device that uses the power of levers to pick up candy from a distance. This hands-on activity is an engaging design challenge that walks students through the engineering design process and connects math topics to real-world applications. As a student-driven assignment, the purpose of the teacher is to act as a facilitator. You will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their Candy Grabbers. This activity is best for 6th through 8th grade.

Included in this product:
- Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
- Handout teaching the concept of levers
- Student handouts to guide them through the design process
- Student recording sheet for each step of the process
- Math connection problems including areas, percentages, and graphing (With an answer key)
-Related STEM career connection


Next is a popular Valentine’s Day math Heart Rate Ratios and Graphing Activity

An engaging activity connecting math concepts to sports! Instead of boring worksheets, students will solve problems based on their own collected data and connect the concepts to cool careers! 

Students learn about heart rate and the importance of this number in sports medicine. They compute their own heart rate after various activities and graph the results. They calculate the target heart rate and answer critical thinking questions. 

The activity will take about 45 - 60 minutes to complete depending on student level. The activities are perfect as an in-class assignment, review activity, homework assignment, or extracurricular activity. Activities are focused on ratios and proportions concepts. Includes an introduction, career connection section, discussion questions, word problems, and extension critical thinking questions. This product is best for 5th through 8th grade.

*Aligned to the Common Core Math*
6.RP.A.1: Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities.
6.RP.A.2: Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ≠ 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship.
6.RP.A.3: Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems
7.RP.A.1: Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas and other quantities measured in like or different units. 
7.RP.A.2: Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.
7.RP.A.3: Use proportional relationships to solve multistep ratio and percent problems. 

Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!