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Its Groundhog Day -- Again!

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Subjects

Mathematics
--Statistics

Grade

3-5
6-8

Brief Description

Students will learn about the legend of Groundhog Day and complete a worksheet about what they learn.

Objectives

Students will

  • read a table showing the results of Punxsutawney Phils predictions;
  • answer 10 questions about the information in the table.

Keywords

Groundhog Day, reading graphs and tables, Punxsutawney Phil

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

Every year, on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog reputed to be more than 120 years old, lumbers out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and, in front of tens of thousands of eager disciples, predicts the weather for the rest of winter. According to legend, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

The first records of the results of Phils groundhog-shadow sightings appeared in 1887. Since that time, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 95 times. He's seen no shadow 14 times. (There is no record for 9 years between 1889 and 1899.) Ask: What percentage of the time does Phil see his shadow? (Phil sees his shadow about 81 percent of the time.) What percentage of the time does Phil fail to see his shadow? (about 12 percent of the time) What percentage of the years are unrecorded? (about 8 percent)

Invite students to go to the Groundhog Day Predictions table (scroll down the page) and/or the official Groundhog Day Predictions to find a record of the history of Phil's predictions. Then provide each student with a copy of the Groundhog Day Predictions teaching master. Invite students to use either predictions table to answer the questions on the teaching master.

You -- and your students -- can learn more about Punxsutawney Phil and the legend of Groundhog Day at Groundhog Day, the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Assessment

Assess students based on their participation in the activity and their answers to the questions on the teaching master.
ANSWER KEY: 1). no; 2). 7:21 a.m.; 3). nine times; 4).19 years; 5). 14 degrees below zero; 6). three times; 7). 1950; 8). 1980; 9). 1970 and 1975; 10). none.

Lesson Plan Source

EducationWorld.com

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Data Analysis and Probability
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-DATA.3-5.1 Formulate Questions That Can Be Addressed With Data and Collect, Organize, and Display Relevant Data to Answer
NM-DATA.3-5.2 Select and Use Appropriate Statistical Methods to Analyze Data
NM-DATA.3-5.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-DATA.6-8.1 Formulate Questions That Can Be Addressed With Data and Collect, Organize, and Display Relevant Data to Answer
NM-DATA.6-8.2 Select and Use Appropriate Statistical Methods to Analyze Data
NM-DATA.6-8.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data

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    08/30/2010



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