Each week, Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. In recognition of Groundhog Day, February 2, we've selected the best of the Web for teaching about Groundhog Day.
Official Site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
This is the official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Web site. The site provides everything you need to know to prepare for a visit to Groundhog central on February 2 or to simply become a true aficionado of Groundhog Day as it is celebrated in Pennsylvania each year. The site includes the schedule of events for 2001 and a concise history of the Punxsutawney tradition, dating back to ancient Europe. Of special interest is Phil the groundhog's past record of predictions. There's lots of material here to practice critical thinking and reading skills as well as math and probability.
Though there is no way to verify just how official this site is in comparison to others, it is definitely fun for elementary students. Developed by Dr. Julia Spencer, the site teaches that "each member of the family is special and has something to contribute, regardless of size, strength, or age." Each member of Phil the groundhog's family has a story to tell, and games and activities will engage even the youngest students. Phil's predictions and a number of opportunities to enter contests round out this child-centered site.
This site touts the attributes of the wonderful town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In addition to the usual links to businesses and upcoming tourist attractions, this page has a section with Interactive Fun that will be a hit with elementary-aged children. The Groundhogese Translator game allows children to type in a phrase and have it translated into the original groundhog-speak of Phil and his ancestors. The game even allows students to hear an audio rendering of groundhogese! Other activities include Ask the Groundhog and Send a Post Card.
Groundhog Day Quiz
Here is a great way to kick off your Groundhog Day study or wrap it up: Have students take an interactive, ten-item, multiple-choice quiz on basic facts, lore, and trivia about this unique celebration. Students answer each question aloud or on a sheet of paper and then click the drop-down menu to check their answers. Also: See another online groundhog quiz.
Groundhog Day Songs
Note 12/08/2008: This page is no longer available, but many Don Halley Groundhog Day songs can be found at this site. We will watch to see of Don's site pops up in a new location.
Don Halley has created this cache of original verses about Groundhog Day, set to traditional tunes students know and love. Kids will enjoy "Phillip the Weather Groundhog" (to the tune of "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and "Oh I Wish I Was a Punxsutawney Groundhog" (sung to the tune of the Oscar Mayer wiener song). Even a teacher with a tin ear can use these playful, engaging songs about our hero and his shadow-seeking saga to make the most of this February celebration.
Willie makes his home in Wiarton, Ontario, where the folks take his winter predictions every bit as seriously as the residents of Punxsutawney regard Phil's. Here, students can see Willie in full animation, compare his festival and predications with those of some of his relatives, and take a survey on how they think Willie will predict this year's winter. The site is also available in French.
Brainpop offers scientific information in the form of interactive quizzes and animated videos. The presentation on seasons (click on Science Movies, then Seasons) offers a very scientific, upper-elementary explanation of how the seasons occur. It can serve as a nice introduction to your season studies in the classroom or as a review as students prepare to conclude their work. It also offers a scientific supplement to your study of the superstitious groundhog!
QuickTime Movie of the Seasons
The University of Virginia offers this QuickTime movie of Earth rotating throughout the seasons. This unique look at the physics of our planet tilting on its axis to create each season is a nice addition to any class study on Groundhog Day or Earth's climates and seasons.
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Last updated 1/31/2012