Our heart is full of math! How about you? My favorite kind of math is hands on, differentiated, and engaging all at the same time. I love it even more when I can create a themed activity because my learners RUN and JUMP to “work” at this center. Let me show you how I created this activity and my thoughts behind WHY I did each step to help inspire you to create something like this yourself.
Starting with the Hearts
Several years ago, I found these plastic hearts at Walmart. They came in a four pack with a pink, red, green, and yellow heart in each pack. It was easy to grab several packages because the colors make differentiation a breeze! I can’t currently find these exact hearts BUT I found a fun 24 pack on Amazon that would work here. (I also found them on Oriental Trading here.)
Also remember, some years these hearts are everywhere and other years they are harder to find. Keep this idea into your head and look for any little themed boxes or containers for other seasons or holidays.
Deciding the Levels
Next, I divided up the colors. If you grab the Amazon pack, it only comes with two colors but imagine writing on the pink with two different permanent marker colors AND the same with the red hearts. You could easily make two leveled version with this method.
(I also have these shamrock boxes we use for St. Patrick’s Day.)
Then, we must decide the skill break down. Since we are working on addition, I took levels of addition and made those the levels of the game. You can see that the yellow game is sums of 5 or less. The red game is sums between 5-10. Green is addition larger than 10. And pink is ten plus another number.
When I first started this center, my idea was to have it as self checking. I could use some kind of bean or counter to have the students self count BUT I could see my students dumping out the answers out and me need to check and recheck them constantly. (Plus the idea of beans being eaten or put up noses is something every Kindergarten teacher fears. )
My solution was simple. I wrote the answers inside the boxes for self checking.
How do we use these Hearts for Math?
I use these in small groups to practice our addition strategies. The first part is obvious. I sort the hearts by color and place them into containers. Next, I break the hearts up into tops and bottoms. Students work together to match their hearts as they solve their equations.
Different students work on different hearts. They can and are working on different strategies while they are adding. Some students are using their fingers. Some are putting the big number in their heads and counting on. And yet others may use ten frames or number lines to solve their equations.
Ask they solve their heart equations, they place them back in their buckets and I check them.
Another way we work on these hearts is the opposite way. Students can take their hearts out of the bucket and write the first part of the equation.
They use their math strategy to solve the problem and write down their solution.
Last, they open their heart to check their answer. I love this method if my students are struggling on writing equations. What a fun heart math activity.
The best news is… once you prep this activity once, you can use it again and again year after to make your heart full of math.
You can easily use subtraction problems on here or so many other math concepts you want to work on.
Check out these Printables
You can grab these exclusive freebie printable for this activity including the hearts to make your own game in case you can’t find the box hearts.