Groundhog Day Free Unit Study
Groundhog Day is a popular tradition celebrated in the United States on January 2nd of each year. According to legend, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter. However, if it does not see its shadow spring will arrive early.
This free unit study is a great way to teach your children more about Groundhog Day. The unit study is mostly designed for elementary-aged children, but your entire family will enjoy going through the unit together. The unit includes information about Groundhog Day and its history. It also includes lessons and activities covering related science, math, literature, writing, and arts & crafts. You may choose to do all of the lessons and activities in a single day, taking the day off from your regular studies, or spread the unit study out over several days leading up to Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Day History
Watch Why Groundhogs Supposedly Predict The Weather On Groundhog Day for an overview of Groundhog Day.
Read What Does Groundhog Day Have to do With Christianity? to learn more about the Christian history of the holiday.
Groundhog Day Science
Groundhogs are often confused with prairie dogs, and sometimes gophers. Show your children the pictures of prairie dogs in this article and read about the different species of prairie dogs. Also, have your children study the image near the middle of the article of a prairie dog next to a groundhog. Ask them what similarities and differences they see. You’ll probably want to stop reading the article when you get to the section about how to get rid of prairie dogs, especially with young children, because the remainder of the article is about pest control.
Watch Groundhogs for Kids to learn more about groundhogs. Tell your children to watch the video carefully. Ask them if any of the animals in the video are prairie dogs, rather than groundhogs. How many did they spot?
How accurate are Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions? Read Groundhog Day Festivities and a Look at Punxsutawney Phil’s Accuracy to find out. Ask your children if they think using groundhogs is a reliable way to predict the weather. Why or why not?
This short animated video tells about the tools meteorologists use to predict the weather. Ask your children if they think meteorologists can make a more accurate prediction of the weather, using these tools, rather than a groundhog. Why?
If your children would like to learn more about weather forecasting, watch How Do Forecasters Predict the Weather?. This video takes a look at the National Weather Service and how weather forecasting technology has changed over time.
Groundhog Day Math
Will Puxatawny Phil see his shadow on Groundhog Day? Have your children poll friends, family, neighbors, etc. to see what they think. Then have them create a graph to show their results. You can use one of these free printables, or they can create their own graph.
Groundhog Day Literature
Watch and listen to a read-aloud of one (or more) of the following storybooks:
- Groundhog’s Day Off by Robb Pearlman
- Wake Up, Groundhog! by Susanna Leonard Hill
- It’s Groundhog Day! by Steven Kroll
Groundhog Day Writing
Have your children write about Groundhog Day using one of these free writing prompts:
- Groundhog Day Writing Prompt – This short write and illustrate prompt asks, “What will happen on Groundhog Day?”. It’s perfect for younger kids. (Kindergarten & 1st grade)
- Groundhog Day Quick Write Freebie! – This prompt asks children to write about what they hope will happen on Groundhog Day and why. (approximately 2nd through 4th grade)
- Groundhog Day Writing Freebie – This activity includes an article to read about groundhogs and a writing assignment based on the article. (approximately 4th through 6th grades)
If you are doing this unit study with older children or teens, you could have them write about what they’ve learned about the history of Groundhog Day. Or you could have them research and write about meteorology & weather prediction, the groundhog & its habitat, hibernation, Punxsutawney, PA, or any other topic related to this unit.
Groundhog Day Arts and Crafts
Choose one of the following art or craft projects to complete:
- Groundhog Paper Plate Craft – Includes easy to follow instructions and a printable template.
- Quick Kids’ Groundhog Day Craft – Includes a printable template and instructions.
- How to Draw a Groundhog: The Directed Way to Teach Your Students – Step by step tutorial for drawing a simple cartoon groundhog.
- How to Draw a Groundhog – Step-by-step instructions for drawing a groundhog. This drawing activity is more challenging than the one above and is better for older or more skilled students.
- Groundhog Day Coloring Pages – Several cute coloring sheets to choose from.
Groundhog Day Snacks
Prepare one of these cute treats with your children.
The Big Day
Don’t forget to watch Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction. Most news organizations will live stream the event. For a countdown to his prediction, see this website.