What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
Groundhog Day is February 2.
|Grades||K – 5|
|Calendar Activity Type||Holiday & School Celebration|
Groundhog Day is observed each year on February 2. The famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil is pulled from his simulated burrow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to make the most anticipated weather forecast of the year. The legend says that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow, spring is just around the corner.
Observe Groundhog Day in your classroom with your own shadow-watching activity.
Begin by bringing in a stuffed animal to stand in as the "groundhog." Have students select a name–something catchy–such as "Fairview Fred" or "Springfield Sal." Then plan a Groundhog Day celebration by choosing a location on school grounds and inviting other classes to attend the event.
Model your celebration after the annual event in Punxsutawney by including a variety of activities such as a scavenger hunt, storytelling, and games. Punxsutawney residents always include music in their celebration. Invite your school's band or chorus to provide live entertainment. At a predetermined time, have your "groundhog" look for his shadow, and then make the official announcement.
Later, have students watch or listen to news reports describing what happens in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day and compare it with their predictions. Then, watch the calendar to see if your forecast is accurate!
- Groundhog Day
This page from the Stormfax Weather Almanac offers information about the origins of Groundhog Day. There is also a record of past Groundhog Day predictions and information about the Groundhog Day film starring Bill Murray.
- Groundhog Day: The Official Website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
Check out the area for Teachers to find activities, lesson plans, and games to share with students during your Groundhog Day festivities. Students can even submit poetry or video for inclusion on the site.
- Weather Lore
Students can read weather-related folktales and proverbs at this American Folklore website.
- Groundhogs at HogHaven
Students can meet real groundhogs from Lums Pond State Park in Delaware at this rich multimedia site. The site includes basic information about groundhogs, as well as audio, video, and images.
Grades K – 2 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Questions about weather clear up when students use what they learned from their books to create a presentation to share with the rest of the class.
Grades K – 2 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students listen to fiction and nonfiction read-alouds and explore selected Websites to identify factual information about animals. This lesson focuses on ants, but can be adapted to any animal.
Grades K – 2 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students choose a question to explore, research it using a variety of resources, organize their information on a TCF chart, and then collaboratively write a class scientific explanation.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students adopt a skeptical stance and become weather detectives who ask “Why?” and “Why not?” as they investigate the history and validity of some common weather sayings.