The Heart of Math and Science

When I use to teach in the classroom, holidays would often saturate the day.  I would find ways to celebrate the holiday while also incorporating opportunities for learning.  Trying to find something to do with all those candy hearts from Valentine’s Day in addition to eating them, we spent some time exploring some math and science with candy hearts.

We started with some sorting and counting (as I mentioned in my last post, it’s one of Big Brother’s favorite things to do). We graphed the candy hearts by color.  Big Brother is working on learning the difference between rows and columns.  After creating our graph, we talked about the concepts of more and less and practiced adding/subtracting by comparing and combining various color combinations.  He was very excited that his two favorite colors tallied up to have the most. (Okay, maybe I rigged it a bit)  It was decided that some of the candy hearts needed to be consumed, specifically the yellow and orange, and so we replaced the hearts by coloring in the graph with their corresponding color.

The candy hearts that weren’t gobbled up we used for a little science experiment involving baking soda & vinegar.  I did this experiment a lot with raisins when I taught my students about states of matter.  But thanks to the endless supply of activities on Pinterest, I found the same experiment with candy hearts that worked just the same. When the baking soda and vinegar combine, they create carbon dioxide bubbles that surround the candy causing them to rise and fall and appear to be dancing in the liquid. When you first combine the ingredients, there can be a little bit of wait time before the dancing begins.  Once it did…Big Brother was very surprised and excited!  He was curious about the bubbles and what was inside them and how they made the candy move. He was so enthralled with the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar that we ended up extending the experiment by placing drops of vinegar directly onto vinegar with a dropper.  And since our paint mixing fun making Valentines, he’s also really focused on color mixing so we used some food coloring with the vinegar to explore that further.

5 thoughts on “The Heart of Math and Science

  1. I love this practical way to teach math. Alex is determined to tutor Addy and I can see them both struggling – him because he desperately wants her to learn and love math like he does, and her because she just can’t visualize it in her head. I’m going to pass this idea and see if it helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t often do “lessons” like this, but when I do some kind of direct instruction with him, I always make sure to mask it as a game of some sort. At this age, if it’s not fun then they want no part of it. 🙂 Good luck and let me know how it goes!


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