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Back to Groundhog Day Lesson Plan

Graphing
Groundhog
Predictions

Subjects

  • Arts & Humanities
    --Visual Arts
  • Mathematics
    --Applied Math
    --Probability
    --Statistics
  • Science
    --Life Sciences
    ----Animals
  • Social Studies
    --Holidays

Grade

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

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Brief Description

Create a bulletin board graph illustrating Punxsutawney Phil's past predictions.

Objectives

Students will

  • research information about Punxsutawney Phil's past Groundhog Day predictions.
  • create a graph showing Punxsutawney Phil's past predictions.
  • correctly answer questions about the graph.

Keywords

Groundhog Day, groundhog, woodchuck, prediction, statistics, winter, hibernation, spring

Materials Needed

 

Lesson Plan

Before the Lesson
Create a bulletin board, mural, or chart with the headline "Punxsutawney Phil's Past Predictions." Students research Phil's past predictions and create a graph showing the history of his prognostications. Each student is responsible for researching Phil's prediction for at least one year. Students date and color one of the three graph buttons (Phil with his shadow, Phil without his shadow, or Phil holding a "no official record" sign) for each year researched.

 

Print out the three graph buttons students' work sheet, one copy for every two students. (Cut the sheet in half so each student gets a copy of the three buttons.)

Teaching the Lesson
Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow this year on Groundhog Day? What do students think? If Phil sees his shadow, legend has it that he will return to hibernation and we will experience six more weeks of winter.

In this lesson, students create one or two graphs. One graph shows the past history of Phil's predictions; the other graph illustrates students' predictions for the current year. For the purpose of this lesson plan, students create the historic graph first.

Decide whether students should graph only the recent years of Phil's predictions or Phil's entire history.

  • Younger students might graph only the past 20 years or so of predictions. (We recommend graphing predictions for the number of years that matches the number of students in your class; for example, if you have 18 students, graph results from the last 18 years.)
  • The activity can be adapted for older students, so they graph the entire history of Phil's predictions.

Print the record of Phil's past predictions (scroll down and click on Past Predictions from 1886 - 1989) from the official Web site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

  • If you teach younger students, cut up the official record for the most recent years, cutting a different slip for each year. Put the slips into a fishbowl, hat, or some other container. Have each student draw a slip from the container. The year/record on that slip is the year the student will research and add to a class graph of Phil's past predictions.
  • If you teach older students, you might cut up the official record since 1887 and have each student draw a slip showing the records for four, five, or more consecutive years. Each student then is responsible for adding those years to a class graph.

Give students time to research the years drawn from the container and to create a graph button (one for each year) to add to a class bulletin board graph.

When students have colored and cut out a button for the year(s) they researched, call out those years one at a time and have students add the buttons to the bulletin board graph.

Extend the lesson! Provide graph-reading practice by creating a worksheet of questions that students can answer using the bulletin board or mural graph they created. The activity makes a nice learning center for the week of Groundhog Day.

When the graph is complete, talk about what students can learn by studying it. (Did Phil see his shadow more often than he didn't see it?, for example.) Then have students make their own predictions for this year's Groundhog Day. Do they think Phil will see his shadow this year? Have each student color a button with his or her prediction; students should write their names on their buttons. Use the students' buttons to make another graph called "Our Phil Predictions," or have each student tape the colored button to his or her desk. On Groundhog Day, students will learn whether their predictions were correct.

Assessment

Students will accurately research the year(s) of Phil's predictions for which they are responsible. If you create questions to accompany the bulletin board graph they create, they will correctly answer at least 80 percent of those questions.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
GRADES K - 4
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

MATHEMATICS: Data Analysis and Probability
GRADES Pre-K - 2
NM-DATA.PK-2.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-DATA.3-5.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-DATA.6-8.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data

MATHEMATICS: Connections
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

MATHEMATICS: Representation
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas
NM-REP.PK-12.3 Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena

Find more lessons for teaching about Groundhog Day on Education World's February Holiday Page.

Click to return to this week's lesson, Groundhog Day: Fill Your Day With (Punxsutawney) Phil Fun.

Updated 1/31/2012