I Heart Math: Graphing hearts for Valentine’s Day

Have you ever invited your students to make their own graphs?

Young children are so capable of doing things but sometimes, we get in the way of helping them reach their full potential by doing too much for them. Take graphs, for example, how often do we print off graphs on a sheet a paper when the children really could learn to draw their own lines?

Give It a Try

I will warn you though. If you haven’t ever invited your students to draw their own graphs, then you should know that when you do, the lines can start out being all over the place. But whether the children draw perfect lines, columns, or squares – they can still sort, compare, and contrast items into the spaces they have designed.

Graphing Hearts for Valentines Day

At the math table, my students found graphs already drawn for them on the table along with an assortment of colorful felt hearts (which I got from Target – I think).  The children were invited to sort the hearts into the different columns on the table graphs then draw their own graphs to record their final result. In other words, after sorting the hearts – take a look at the graph and then try to draw the hearts and a graph on your own paper. 

Keeping the Process Open-ended

It is important to note that I didn’t insist on the graphs being just like those on the table AND that I left the idea of drawing a graph up to the children. Some of my students only sorted the hearts and didn’t make a graph while others decided to give all of the steps a try.


The children also chose for themselves how many of the hearts they wished to graph. Some of the students only did a few while others (particularly the older students) wanted to graph ALL the hearts. By leaving the process more open-ended, it allowed the process to naturally individuate according to readiness, interest, skills, and abilities.

Practicing the Skill

As you can see in these photos, this wasn’t the first time my students have tried drawing their own graphs. They have been doing it for quite sometime but each time they spend time on drawing their own charts or graphs, they get better at it and it becomes easier and they begin to understand the idea more clearly. Check out the two graphs shown below. You can see that even though the process is the same, the children have lots of wiggle room to apply the process in a way that fits their understanding, skills, and abilities.

Available on Amazon

Below are a two books I love to read each year during the Valentine’s season as well as some pre-cut felt hearts (in case you don’t have time to cut out your own). See my affiliate links below…

Leave a Comment

Now it’s your turn! What is something you often do for the children that you could try to let them do for themselves?



Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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