I LOVE holidays, and my students do too! We celebrate Valentine’s week with a math PBL and every Valentine’s day reading passage, science experiment, and writing prompt I can think of to go with it! Here are some major reasons why you should use project-based learning with your students this Valentines Day week!
It allows all students to feel included and special
Incorporating Valentine’s Day as a part of a project-based learning activity allows every students to participate in the holiday without the drama or expectations. When we do PBL in my classroom, students take ownership of the holiday by planning their own party. They get to make all of the decisions, which means they are in control! There’s nothing they need to buy, so there’s no concern that some students can afford something when others cannot.
It doesn’t need to involve food
Junk food in the classroom has been a hot-button issue lately. I personally don’t mind a little treat in my classroom every once in a while, but focusing on a PBL takes the pressure off of the teacher to decide how to handle a big celebration. If you want to end the PBL with a party or a treat, you definitely can, but it’s absolutely not necessary. I’ve done both ways. One year we didn’t do a celebration at the end of the week, but I had students build 3D models of the Valentine’s party they planned. The project includes a part where they create seating in a party space, so it was pretty easy to translate that into a 3D project. They also made paper food to go in their model. It was really cool!
It hits standards
Despite what the students may think, we still have to teach on and around the holidays. Your students may not be thinking of anything other than Valentine’s Day, so use that focus to teach and practice the standards. I plan my PBL around Math standards because it’s so easy to bring the other subject areas in around it.
When we do Valentine’s PBL, we hit the following Math skills:
- Addition & Subtraction
- Multiplication & Division
- Multiplication & Division
- Converting Between Feet & Inches
- Graphing Area in Square Units
- Decimal Operations
I also pull in standards from the other subject areas:
Reading: We read informational passages about the history of Valentine’s Day. I can teach almost every informational standard using these passages. We summarize, find main idea, and more! I also bring in short stories and chapter books related to Valentine’s Day. We do read-alouds and partner reading all throughout February. We talk about character traits, figurative language, and other literature standards.
Writing: Journaling about our project is my favorite way to bring writing into our PBL unit. I’ve also had students write a creative narrative about a story from their Valentine’s Day party. That was a fun way to learn about the writing process!
Science: Just search “Valentine’s Day Science” and you’ll find lots of great Valentines-themed Science experiments! Don’t forget to incorporate even more writing within these experiments!
It keeps students engaged
My students honestly forget that we’re learning when we do project-based learning. The fact that we’re doing holiday-themed work in all subject-areas is sort of like a getaway for them and for me! Everyone loves holidays, and when you love what you’re learning about, it just makes it that much more engaging!