Valentine's Day Lesson Plan for High School

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about the real St. Valentine and St. Valentine's Day with this helpful lesson plan. They will participate in a group discussion about the holiday, followed by a related hands-on activity.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson on St. Valentine's Day, your students will be able to:

  • Detail what St. Valentine did to become so famous
  • Explain what century St. Valentine lived and how he died
  • Participate in an activity creating poster that connects the real St. Valentine to modern St. Valentine's Day customs


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Colored markers
  • Construction paper
  • Internet access

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

Group Discussion and Activity

Small Group Research and Discussion

  • First, divide your students into small groups of 4-6.
  • Instruct them to go online and spend some time (15-25 minutes) reviewing facts about the real St. Valentine and the St. Valentine's Day holiday.
  • Here are some of the facts they should uncover and possible discussions questions to use to help direct their research:
    • St. Valentine was a Catholic priest by profession. Ask them:
    • Why is he famous? (he married couples in love, despite the emperor's disapproval)
    • What happened to St. Valentine on St. Valentine's Day in the year 269? (he was beheaded)
    • What was Claudius II (Claudius Gothicus) famous for doing? (ordering the execution of St. Valentine)
    • Why did Claudius II want St. Valentine dead? (he wanted men to stay single, so they would be more likely to join his army and go to war)
    • What is the Flaminian Gate? (a plaza in Rome near the spot where St. Valentine was executed)
    • Cupid is the Roman god of love. Who is his Greek equivalent? (Eros)
    • Cupid is a cherub. What exactly is a cherub? (a winged angel)
    • Who are Cupid's parents? (his mom Venus is the goddess of love, while his dad Mars is the god of war)
    • What is another name for Valentine's Day or St. Valentine's Day? (The Feast of St. Valentine)
    • What other name was the priest St. Valentine called? (Valentinus)
    • St. Valentine knew if he was caught marrying couples he would be executed, but he continued to do it anyway. He became a martyr, which is someone who is willing to die for a personal belief or a particular cause. Ask your students if anyone in today's world would be willing to be a martyr.
    • The Shrine of St. Valentine is located in the Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland. It is a gorgeous tribute. Have your students view it online.
    • How did the expression 'your valentine' begin? (this is how St. Valentine signed a note to his judge's daughter before he died. It is said he helped cure her blindness, but the judge still had him executed)
  • Finally, ask your students if anyone has any other questions or comments pertaining to St. Valentine.

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