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Name of Activity:

Detective Valentine

Purpose of Activity:

To improve fitness and work together while solving a valentine's day puzzle.


Students must be familiar with the fitness activities used for this lesson.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Pencils, puzzles, cones, notecards, mats, jump ropes, chalk (any other equipment you deem necessary for the specific fitness activity).

Description of Idea

The teacher needs to create valentine puzzles in advance, using valentine terms (heart, cupid, sweetheart, etc.). Each puzzle is numbered in the corner for organization. The puzzle has blanks and under each blank is a number. The teacher creates a key for himself/herself where each letter of the alphabet is represented with a number (a=1, b=2, etc.).

Example puzzle #1 (heart)


On the activity area (a blacktop area works well), the teacher draws 26 hearts, each with a number in it (1-26). (Be sure to spread these out in random order so students have to move around alot. Next to the hearts, place a tall cone. Underneath the cone, place an index card with the letter of the alphabet that corresponds to the number in the heart (look at your key) and a fitness activity (e. g., 20 push-ups, jump rope, etc.).

When class begins, explain to the students that they are going to be "valentine dectives" today! They are going to try and solve a puzzle by moving all around the area looking for evidence. When students receive their puzzles, explain that they will be starting with the first number under the blank. They need to search all over the area for the heart that has the number in it. When someone in their group finds it, they need to give the signal (thumbs up) so the rest of their group can find them. When the entire group arrives at the heart, lift up the cone and read the evidence. Explain that all students in the group must complete the fitness activity first, before writing the letter on their puzzle. When everyone in their group is finished, they move on to the next number. Stress that you are going to be watching for teamwork (students waiting for each other to finish and not moving on without the entire group), good sportsmanship (cheering each other on, slowing down in an activity for others, etc.) and participation (finishing the entire activity at each station, not fooling around, etc.)

To avoid too many students at a particular activity area, give each group of four or five students a different puzzle. When students are finished with a puzzle, have them come back to a specific area, sit down, and hold up the puzzle (this way the teacher will not have students running up to turn in the puzzle).

Teaching Suggestions:

Teacher could add music to "liven" up the activity - this would help students know when to begin/end.

Teacher could modify this activity for upper grade students to include science terms for the puzzles (heart, aorta, ventricle, etc.). Then the teacher could discuss with the students what each term means, possibly locating it on a blank heart diagram (or incorporating a worksheet into the lesson).

Teacher could modify this lesson to incorporate literature, spelling, etc. by having the puzzles include words from specific novels/books or spelling lists.

Teacher could have students create their own puzzles and use them the following class.

Teacher could have students who are excused because of an illness be the teacher at a particular fitness area (in case students forget proper form).

Submitted by Sara Cerrato who teaches at Twentynine Palms Elementary School in Joshua Tree, CA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 8/14/2003.
Viewed 66794 times since 2/15/2002.

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Detective Valentine

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