By Teachers, For Teachers
For decades, people have looked to the hibernating groundhogs awakening as a sign of spring. Each year on Feb. 2, we anxiously await the sighting of a groundhog as it comes out of its burrow to look for its shadow.
This popular legend has children and adults giddy with excitement as we await to see if there will be six more week of winter, or if spring will arrive early.
Help students celebrate Groundhog Day this year by partaking in a few of these fun classroom activities and games.
Classroom Activities: Cast Your Vote!
As Feb. 2 approaches, more and more people wonder if legendary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. Allow your students to get in on the fun and cast their vote to see if this furry little friend will indeed predict more winter or a quicker spring.
Have students prepare a ballot by folding an 8 x 11 piece of paper in half and drawing a sun or spring picture on one half, and a cloud or wintry picture on the other. Next, ask students to color the picture that they think represents their predication. Once they have colored their predication, they must cut the side that they colored off, and hand in their ballot to you.
Once the ballots are in, as a class, create a graph of the results. Then on Feb. 2,, once Punxsutawney Phil has made his prediction, announce his findings and compare what he said with your class graph of student predications.
Send Phil Back to his Burrow
Once students have made their predications and you have given them the results, it is now time to send him back into his hole! Divide students into teams of two and have them stand in a relay line. Give each team enough brown balls so that each students will have two. The brown balls represent the groundhog. Instruct each team to come up with a fun team name. Then, on your go, have both teams compete at the same time 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!
Dear Mr. Groundhog
A great way to incorporate letter writing onto your Groundhog Day activities is to have students write a special letter to Punxsutawney Phil. First, read the story “Will Spring Be Early? Or Will Spring Be Late?” by Crockett Johnson. This comical tale about a groundhog mistakenly identifying a fake flower for spring will have your students in a sniggle. After you read the story, instruct students to think about all of the things that remind them of springtime and write their answers in the board. Next challenge them to write a short letter to Punxsutawney Phil telling him all of the signs that remind them of springtime.
Groundhogs aren’t the only animals who hibernate. Many other animals like to take a long winter nap too. Discuss with the students all of the other animals that like to hibernate, or take a long winter nap. Then ask them to choose two other animals to research a little more about. This can be done by themselves or in a group of two. Students may pick a bear, frog, turtle, or any other creature that they learned about.
Once students have chosen their two animals, they must create a small booklet. On the front page, the title will be “Who’s Hibernating,” and on the inside of the first page will be a picture of a groundhog along with a few facts. The other two pages are for the picture and a few facts of the two animals that they chose to research. Once completed, invite each student (or group) to come up and share their booklets with the rest of their class.
Great Groundhog Literature
How do you celebrate Groundhog Day in your classroom? Do you have any teaching ideas that you would like to share with us? Please leave your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
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.