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Last Updated: Wednesday January 27 2010 14:39 GMT

Valentine's Day

PSHE Relationships

Daleks in love

Overview

February 14 is Valentine's Day.

It's named after a priest, from the time of the Roman Empire, who broke an imperial marriage ban by arranging weddings in secret.

Try an online quiz and then think about different meanings of love.

Learning aims
  • Think about what love is and share ideas
  • Emotions can be expressed in different ways.

Icebreaker

Students test their knowledge about Valentine's Day, by taking this quiz.

QUIZ: VALENTINE'S DAY
Flamingos form a heart shape

Ask for the class' definitions of love:

There are many different types of love - love for food, love for your family, love for sport or even love for music.

As a noun

  • a deep, tender, feeling of affection
  • a feeling of intense desire and attraction
  • an intense emotional attachment

As a verb

  • to embrace or caress
  • to have a physical relationship with
  • to like or desire enthusiastically: she loves football.
  • to thrive on or need: fish love water

Main activity

Display these statements about love.
They are available as a printable worksheet.

LOVE STATEMENTS
Chocolates for Valentine's day
  • Love is forever
  • Love is the same for all
  • Love is different in differing cultures
  • Love means different things to different people
  • Love is everywhere
  • Love is arranged
  • Love is commercial
  • Love is personal
  • Love is painful
  • Love just is
  • Love has no place in the 21st century
  • Love crosses all boundaries
  • Love has no limits
  • Love costs too much
  • Love is for pleasure

In small groups, students decide if they agree or disagree with each statement.

Students decide whether they agree or disagree with the statements, then make a table like this and add the statements in order of importance.

Table of statements about love

Extension activities

Explain to the class that Valentine's Day gets its name from a famous saint.

The most popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD.

Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine thought this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret.

When Claudius found out, Valentine was sentenced to death and thrown in jail. There, he fell in love with the jailor's blind daughter.

His love and belief in God cured her blindness, and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February 270AD he sent her a love letter signed "From your Valentine".

The Christian church replaced the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, an ancient Roman festival celebrating fertility, with St Valentine's Day.

55 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU
Eros

Discussion question: Why do the students think that Valentine went against Emperor Claudius II and married couples in secret?

How to say 'I love you'

How many ways do students know how to say "I love you"? In how many languages? Students make a class list, then compare it to this story 55 ways to say I love you.

Plenary

Students explain their group's reasons for their final order of statements.

Teachers' Background

There's loads of information in our Valentine's Day special section. Click on the links in the top right corner of this page.

The oldest known Valentine message is from Margery Brews of Norfolk to her fiancé, John Paston. Written in 1477, it she tells him that she has asked her mother to put pressure on her father to increase her dowry while at the same time telling John that if he loves her, he'll marry her anyway.

For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.