May 1994
These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center's Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.

Valentine Candy Count

AUTHOR: Judy Dale; Bosque Farms Elementary, Bosque Farms, N.M.

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: Appropriate for grades l - 4.

OVERVIEW: Developing, reading, and interpreting graphs is a vital skill in today's society. It is a skill required in a variety of areas, specifically in science and math.

PURPOSE: This activity provides a fun and exciting method through which children can explore and internalize graphing skills. Specifically, the students will discover what color Valentine Candy is found more often than any other in a standard bag of "Valentine Conversation Hearts." The lesson takes approximately sixty minutes and is most effectively used in connection with Valentine's Day.

OBJECTIVE(s): Through this activity the students will:

  1. observe, predict, sort, and classify
  2. develop graphing skills such as counting and equations
  3. gather and record data
  4. interpret data
  5. apply and generalize data
  1. The teacher brings to class a glass or plastic decanter full of a 12 oz. bag of small "Valentine Conversation Hearts."
  2. Students predict which color candy they think will be found most frequently by placing their name Valentines on the appropriate color valentine on the prediction graph. (total class)
  3. Students then sort and classify a cup-full of Valentine Heart Candy according to color on their sorting/classifying sheets. (small groups)
  4. Next, the students record their color counts on the student recording sheet. (one member of the group records the counts while the rest of the group counts)
  5. Students finally graph their results on the final results graph. (graph one color at a time - one student from each group graphs one color - all students will have a turn to graph a color)
Discussion: a. How many (color) Valentine Hearts did we find? How many .....? b. What color did we find more of than any other? c. Did the prediction that you made turn out to be true? d. What if we bought a new bag of candy - would we find the same number of each color of candy? Why? Why not?


  1. Distribute the "candy hearts" for eating!
  2. Have the children figure out number sentences about the graph. Post their ideas on a chart near the graph.
  3. Challenge the children to think of questions to ask "you" about the graph they have just created. Many will find it is much more difficult to "ask" a question than it is to answer one!
  4. Display the prediction graph and the final graph for the school to will draw a lot of interest from adults as well as other students.
  5. Encourage all students to share the results of this activity with their parents/guardians.
  6. An extension activity for another lesson might be to have the students work in teams to recreate a graph pertaining to weather, favorite colors, types of pets, etc. the possibilities are endless!.