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

Length

1 - 1.5 Hours

Materials

  • Colored markers
  • Construction paper
  • Internet access

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1

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

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4

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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