February 2nd is, of course, the day of the groundhog! We rely on good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil to determine whether spring will come early or whether we will have six more weeks of winter. Just before Groundhog Day, I have my students predict whether the groundhog will or will not see his shadow. This simple survey question provides a real-world opportunity to graph and analyze data, while allowing children to partake in this quirky tradition. We display our learning with an adorable Groundhog Day craft.
Groundhog Day Craft
We use the groundhog’s head to create a pictograph. First, I create a backdrop for our graph with bulletin board paper. I lay the backdrop in the middle of the carpet, and have the students sit around the outside. One-by-one, the students tell their prediction by placing their Groundhog Day craft in the appropriate column on the graph.
Some years, I will tape the heads to the backdrop and display the graph in the hallway.
For the last few years, I have had the students use the results from the graph to create a graph on the groundhog’s belly. I don’t tape the heads to backdrop, so that we can easily remove them from the large, bulletin board paper graph. This Groundhog Day craft is an easy, creative way to integrate math, as we predict whether the groundhog will or will not see his shadow!
On Groundhog Day, the students watch a recording of Punxsutawney Phil looking for his shadow. Then, we conclude whether our predictions were correct.
Groundhog Day Books
Before we get started on making our Groundhog Day craft, I read “Substitute Groundhog” by Pat Miller. This whimsical story tells the tale of how Groundhog feels a little under the weather and needs a substitute for Groundhog Day. Each animal that auditions for the job brings a sense of humor to his search. Groundhog soon realizes that none of his friends are quite right for the job. Will he be able to find the perfect substitute?
My students also enjoy “Groundhog Gets a Say” by Pamela Curtis Swallow. In this story, Groundhog is tired of only being famous once a year. Groundhog does more than just predict the weather. Learn many informational facts that make Groundhog special, as he tells the whole Hog truth.
Another favorite is “Go to Sleep, Groundhog!” by Judy Cox. Groundhog sets his clock for February 2nd and tucks himself into bed for his long winter’s slumber. Poor Groundhog tosses and turns, but he just can’t seem to sleep. He wakes up at half-past October, half-past November and half-past December. During his ventures outside his burrow, he sees holidays he’s never seen before. With no sleep, will Groundhog be able to get up for his big day?
More Groundhog Day Activities
During our math block on Groundhog Day, we read “Ten Grouchy Groundhogs.” We use ten frames and “groundhogs” to act out the story. You can read more about this engaging lesson and grab the free subtraction booklet here.
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