Lesson plan

Color by Sum: A Valentine's Day Math and Art Activity

In this fun Valentine’s Day lesson plan, students will practice addition facts up to 10 and then use the sums to design their own Valentine’s Day-themed color by sum worksheet to trade with a partner.
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Students will be able to solve addition facts up to 10.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that February is a very special month because it is when we celebrate Valentine's Day.
  • Ask students to share what they know about Valentine's Day.
  • Explain to students that today we are going to celebrate Valentine's Day by doing a fun and creative math and art lesson.
(10 minutes)
  • Project the Valentine's Day Addition #1 worksheet onto the board.
  • Tell students that this worksheet contains addition math facts, and their job is to find the sum for each math fact.
  • Remind students that the sum is the total amount resulting from the addition of two or more numbers.
  • Call on a student to solve the first math fact (3 + 2 = ____) and to share their strategy for finding the sum. For example, strategies might include memorization of math facts, drawing a picture, or using math manipulatives.
  • Continue solving the addition math facts in the first row by calling on student volunteers to find the sum and share their strategy.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out a copy of the Valentine's Day Addition #1 worksheet to each student.
  • Provide students with time to complete the worksheet independently.
  • Circulate around the room providing extra support, scratch paper, or manipulatives if necessary.
  • Come together as a group to share sums and address any questions or challenges.
  • Tell students that they have completed the first step in today's lesson by finding the sums to all of the addition math facts.
  • Explain to students that the second step is to create their own color by sum worksheet.
  • Project the Dinosaur Color By Number worksheet onto the board.
  • Tell students that this is an example of a color by number worksheet. Point out the different features of this worksheet, including the simple pictures, the numbers on different parts of the picture, and the color key, which connects a color with a number.
  • Complete the worksheet so that students understand how the different features of the worksheet work together.
  • Explain to students that they will create a similar worksheet. They will draw a simple Valentine's Day-themed picture, create a color key, and place numbers in different parts of the picture. Tell students that they will be using the sums from their Valentine's Day Addition #1 worksheet as their numbers.
(25 minutes)
  • Distribute blank white paper to each student.
  • Tell students to use a black marker and the sums from their Valentine's Day Addition #1 worksheet to create their own Valentine's Day-themed color by number picture.
  • Ask students to trade their pictures with a partner when they are done and color their partner's worksheet.


  • Provide students with manipulatives (e.g. unifix cubes or counters) to assist them with the addition math facts during the Guided Practice/Modeling section.
  • Offer students a coloring page to use and add numbers to during Independent Work Time if they are having difficulty with drawing their own picture (see optional worksheets in Materials and Preparation).


  • Give students the opportunity to work with subtraction math facts and create a color by difference worksheet during Independent Work Time (see the Valentine's Day Subtraction #1 worksheet).
  • Encourage students to solve word problems that contain more challenging addition and subtraction facts and use these sums and differences to create their own worksheet (see the Valentine Word Problems worksheet).
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute whiteboards to each student.
  • Write an addition math fact on the board.
  • Tell students to solve the math fact on their whiteboards and hold up their boards so that you can see their answers.
  • Continue with at least five more addition math facts.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather together in a circle and ask partners to sit next to one another.
  • Go around in a circle and have each set of partners share their Valentine's Day-themed pictures.

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