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Updated 13 February 2004, 17.11
The oldest known St Valentine's message from 1477

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F

We all experience love at some time or another and so students should be able to relate to the topic.

This activity explores the emotion of love through Valentine's Day by reflecting upon students' experiences.

Learning aims

  • Think about what love is and share opinions

  • Consider how emotions can be expressed in different ways
Read the story:

Love is an emotion that we all experience in some way during our lives.

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

Ask for the class' definitions of love:

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 sexual intercourse with
  • to like or desire enthusiastically: she loves football.
  • to thrive on or need: fish love water

Main activity
Display these statements about love.

In small groups the students decide if they agree or disagree with each statement:

  • 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
Students could make a table with two columns, titled agree and disagree, into which they put the statements in order of importance.

Extension activity
Discussion question:

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

Recap on the main teaching points and students explain their group's reasons for their final order of statements.

Teachers' Background

There's loads of info in our valentine's Day special section.

  • The oldest known Valentine message is from Margery Brews of Norfolk to her fiance, 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.

  • St Valentine's Day originates from the story of a Roman priest.

  • During the mid-200s AD Emperor Claudius II of Rome had trouble recruiting soldiers and thought that banning marriages and engagements would solve the problem.

  • A Christian priest called Valentine began secretly marrying couples. When the Emperor found out, he had the priest imprisoned and put to death.

  • The execution took place on February 14, 270 AD.

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

Turn this into an assembly
  • Display strong visual stimuli by collecting Valentine cards.

  • Volunteers could re-enact the story of Valentine and Claudius II.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
World55 ways to say "I love you"
WorldWUBMV? Ways to say it in txt
Find OutWhat is Valentine's Day?
GamesGame: Celebrity Pairs
ChatIs Valentine's day a con?
VoteThe dating game
QuizAre you a good kisser?


BBC Links
Guide to Valentine's Day


Web Links
St Valentine's Day legends
Note: You will leave CBBC. We are not responsible for other websites.



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