Groundhog Day is February 2.
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!
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.
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.
Students can read weather-related folktales and proverbs at this American Folklore website.
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.