Groundhog Day Activities
Science Experiments – Cut out the groundhog pattern shown above. Dim the lights. Hold up the groundhog pattern. Use an overhead projector or large flashlight to shine light on the groundhog so his shadow can be seen on a wall. (see example picture below)
Turn off the light. Turn the light back on. Ask the students what is needed to see the groundhog’s shadow? (light source) Explain that the flashlight or projector is the same as the sun. What shape is the shadow? Does the light shine through the groundhog? Explain that the groundhog blocks the light which makes a dark spot or shadow. Turn and move the puppet and ask students what happens to the shadow. Allow students to make shadows of their own. Ask them how they can make the shadow bigger.
Use the pattern above to cut out a large cloud. Place it in front of the light. Ask the students why the groundhog may not see his shadow.
Classroom Activity – Allow students to role play being Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day. To make his burrow, drape sheets or blankets over a desk. Dim the lights. Students take turns crawling into the burrow. On your signal they crawl out and stand up. Alternate shining the light on them or keeping it off. Have the student state his or her prediction (6 more weeks of winter if the light was on and they see their shadow or an early spring if the light was off and they do not see their shadow) and act it out (go back in the burrow if they see their shadow or stay out and go look for food if they do not see their shadow).
Groundhog Puppet – Use the patterns below to create a groundhog puppet. Have the students color the groundhog and burrow pattern and cut them out. Help the students cut the hole in the burrow along the dotted line. The dotted line should be cut enough to allow the groundhog to go up and down with ease. If you do not wish to use the burrow, a brown paper lunch bag can be used instead. Cut a slit in the bottom of the bag large enough for the puppet to go up and down with ease. Glue a craft stick to the back of the groundhog and insert it through the hole in the burrow. Demonstrate how to make the groundhog peek out of his burrow to check for his shadow. Students can take turns holding their puppets in front of the flashlight or overhead projector.
Shadow Tag – This game is played like regular tag except the person who is “it” must step on a child’s shadow instead of tagging or touching them.
Graphics by www.mycutegraphics.com
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Groundhog Day & Shadows Bundle – Save with this bundle pack which includes:
♦ an interactive PowerPoint presentation with information on groundhogs, Groundhog Day, and shadows
♦ an interactive quiz at the end of the PowerPoint presentation to check student understanding
♦ printable pages
♦ activities about groundhogs and shadows
♦ book list