Looking for a super easy and low-prep Valentine’s Day STEM challenge? Look no further. This is easy to set up and weaves in lots of fun math practice for grades K-2 with conversation hearts.
I love getting my kids excited about using and learning math, and so we recently used a bag of conversation hearts to explore patterns, estimation and measurement, as well as introduce some engineering ideas! I was amazed at the conversations and ideas we explored as they attempted to build a tower with conversation hearts. They’re so much more creative than I am, and had so many great ideas! Your kids will practice many important math skills and have great math talk with this Valentine’s Day STEM challenge!
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Materials Needed to Build a Tower with Conversation Hearts:
- Bag of conversation hearts (we used the large size)
- Pencil and recording page (optional)
Before You Begin this Valentine’s Day STEM Activity:
The first thing I did was explain the task to my kids (ages 6 and 7). They were immediately excited at the challenge! But before they started, I had them look at the hearts, measure them and estimate how tall they thought they could make their tower.
I also demonstrated it for them and let them base their estimate on my small tower, which was 10 hearts tall.
After seeing mine, their estimates were 14 and 15 hearts tall.
Then I let them play and build!
I was so impressed that they were focused not only on building their tower and counting the hearts, but also making various patterns.
They loved trying different patterns, sometimes using all the colors, sometimes just 2 or 3.
I let them experiment a few times first, then we would occasionally stop and measure their creations.
This was great practice for them, as well as a chance to talk about the different units of measurement on our ruler (inches and centimeters).
After some trial and error, they began to look for ways to make their tower sturdier, so that it could be taller.
Some of their ideas to build a sturdy, tall tower:
- Line the hearts up with each other as you build the tower (rather than having some twisting different directions)
- Create 2 towers of hearts next to each other to provide support
- Use the larger hearts (rather than normal size conversation hearts) because they are wider, providing a better base to build on
Our results? The tallest tower built was 30 candy hearts tall! (Unfortunately it fell at heart 31 and I didn’t get a picture). We also measured some of the taller towers to be around 4-5 inches tall, but this was before they got to the tallest point.
This was so fun for my kids, but if your kids are older, there are even more math ideas you can explore:
- Use skip counting to count the hearts in the tower
- Measure the width of each heart and calculate the height of the tower based on the number of hearts (rather than a ruler)
- Determine the number of hearts you would need to build a tower to the ceiling, or other even larger measurements (the Statue of Liberty or Eiffel Tower, or around the entire Earth)
So if you’re looking for a fun, hands on way to explore math and engineering, give this Valentine’s Day STEM challenge a try! All you need is a bag of conversation hearts and some creative kids! 😉
And if you’d like a simple recording page for kids to keep track of their estimate, actual candy count, as well as measurements, click the link below!
Did you enjoy this post? It is part of the 28 Days of STEM series at Left Brain Craft Brain, where bloggers are sharing all kinds of fun STEM learning ideas for the entire month! Be sure to head over there to find more ideas!
Want more hands-on ideas for measurement and estimation? Check out these posts:
- Mummy Math: Measuring and Estimating with Toilet Paper
- How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin: Estimation and counting challenge
- Which Cup Holds the Most Hot Chocolate?
- How Many Gumball? Printable Estimation Lesson
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