By Teachers, For Teachers
February 2 is an exciting day for everyone! This is the day that we all get to find out if there will be six more weeks of winter, or if spring will come a bit earlier! This year, celebrate Groundhog Day with your students by reading stories, learning about the groundhog legend, and partaking in fun activities and classroom games.
Celebrate Groundhog Day with a few of the following activities. These are fun for grades K-5.
According to legend, on February 2, the groundhog’s behavior will predict the weather for the next six weeks. If the groundhog pops his head out of the hole and sees his shadow, then that means we will have six more weeks of snow and wintery weather. If he comes up from his burrow and doesn’t see his shadow and stays for a bit, then that means it will be spring much earlier. Students can read about the groundhog legend and answer a few questions about it here.
Groundhog Day is all about making predications. Have students predict if they think Phil the groundhog will see his shadow, or he will not. As a class, have students make their predications by writing their predications on a piece of paper and putting them into a bowl. Once all of the predications are tallied, have students graph the results.
Groundhog Day is the perfect time to study shadows. For this activity, make sure you have enough flashlights for at least every two children. Turn the lights off and have students observe their own shadows by using a flashlight against the wall. Then, have students use their hands to make shadows. How can you make the shadow bigger, smaller? Next, have students use a toy or paper groundhog and make a shadow. Once they have tried them all, ask students which they liked the best, and what they think worked the best.
Set aside time for a few fun Groundhog Day classroom games. There’s a fun game for predicting the weather, as well as sending the groundhog back into his hole.
Predict the Weather is a simple game in which the teacher asks students to predict if the weather will be springlike or winterlike. Each student would receive two cards, one with a winter scene and one with a spring scene. It’s best to have students draw each scene onto 5x7 index cards. The teacher would also have several of these cards in a bag or hat. On the teacher’s request, the students would predict what the weather will be by holding up one of their cards into the air. If their predication matches the teachers, then they are still in the game, if it does not, then they are out. The game continues until one person is left, and they are crowned Punxsutawney Phil after the popular groundhog.
Once students have made their predications (just like the groundhog does), it’s time to send him back into his hole! Divide students into two teams and have them stand in a relay line. Give each team a bunch of brown balls to represent the groundhog, and have teams come up with a fun team name. Then, on your “Go” command, have teams compete to see how many balls they can make into the hole (which would be a small waste paper basket). The team with the most groundhogs in the hole wins!
How do you celebrate Groundhog Day in your classroom? Do you have any special activities or games that you play? Share with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.