Colorful candy hearts with written sayings.

Candy heart math: Estimating, measuring and graphing

Sweet math activities adapted for young students who are blind or low vision.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, let’s use the popular candy hearts to teach math skills!

Estimating a handful of candy hearts

Place candy hearts in a bowl.

Additional questions that Cupid might ask:

Create a tactile bar chart

For very young students, create a tactile bar chart together. The simple version can be just two bars: The estimated number of candy hearts in one hand as the first bar and the actual number of candy hears as the second bar. Use candy hearts or stick-on foam hearts on tactile grid paper to create the bar chart. Be sure to label the bar chart!

After working together to create the first chart, provide the materials and ask the student to create the second simple bar chart independently. The second bar chart is the same as the first one, only substituting the data for candy hearts held in two hands for the candy hearts held in one hand.

Create a digital bar chart

For Day 2, prior to the lesson you (the teacher) should create an accessible digital bar chart on the iPad in the Pages app for the student to use. Use the same one-handed data or create a more challenging chart using actual number of heart candies held in one hand by 5 or more students in the class. This bar chart will have 5 (or more) bars. Ask the students questions about the data, such as how many candy hearts did (name student) hold? Who had more hearts (name two students). Who had the most hearts? Who held the same amount of hearts?


Estimating and measuring candy heart & flowers

This modified activity is from

Nonstandard units of measurements such as using hands, paper clips, or Lego bricks is a way to introduce young children to measuring before they can read numbers on a ruler or before they understand standard units of measure such as inches, feet, or miles.

The worksheet has four heart-shaped flowers on stems. Each flower is a different size, ranging from small to large.

Make this image tactile using Washi Tape (thin colorful masking tape) and foam stick-on heart stickers. Be sure that the tactile version is the same size as the print version.

Drawing of four  different-sized "heart" flowers.

How many candy hearts do you think are needed to equal the length of these flowers? Estimate the number of hearts for each flower and write down your estimates.

Use the candy hearts to measure each flower. Record the number of actual hearts used to measure each flower.

Small heart flower with 4 candy hearts used as a nonstandard unit of measurement.

Download the free Measuring with Candy Hearts worksheet from

Create a digital bar chart

Learn to use a digital bar chart and/or create a simple bar chart with 4 bars representing each flower in the measuring with candy hearts activity. See links above for information on how to create an accessible digital bar chart on an iPad, using a spreadsheet, or using SAS Graphics Accelerator. Keep in mind that students will need to know how to use and how to create digital bar charts in Kl12 schools, college and careers. It is always best to introduce simple digital bar charts early on (initially pairing tactile bar charts with digital bar charts.) All students should be given opportunities to create bar charts in various forms!


by Diane Brauner 2/9/23

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