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Groundhog Day for the Classroom

Groundhog Day Is February 2

Found Inarts, mathematics, science, preK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil will see or not see his shadow. Explore light and shadow in math, science, and art lessons and have fun with the following collection of groundhog games and activities.

Lesson Plans

Sky 2: Shadows
Students in grades K-2 investigate shadows by discussing stories and manipulating shadows.

What Makes Shadows? Observing and Drawing Shadows
Students in grades 1-3 observe and draw the shadow of a classmate, and in an extension activity, they observe and discuss shadows changing over time.

How Light Moves
Students in grades 3-5  examine the paths light takes with different materials and observe shadows, reflection, and refraction.

The Science of Shadow Puppets
Students create and work with shadow puppets to learn how light interacts with matter. (5-8)

Exploring Rembrandt’s Chiaroscuro Technique through Mosaic Design
Students in grades 6-12 observe and discuss works of Rembrandt and other artists explore chiaroscuro by creating paper mosaic designs.

More Art Resources

Drawing Lesson – A Theory of Light and Shade
Learn the significance that light and dark contrast has in making a painting or drawing visually believable.

Anatomy of Light
Understand the makeup of light and shadow.


Solar Observation
Primary students mark the hourly position of a shadow.

Solar Observation
Intermediate students explore the hourly position of a shadow and the rising sun.

Colored Shadows
Students in grades 6-12 use colored lights to make different colored shadows.

Exploratorium Magazine: The Body: Self Portrait Silhouettes
Students in grades K-12 can make photograms, one using special "sun-print" paper that processes in plain water (primary), and another using regular photographic paper and processing (secondary).

How to build the shop version of the Light Island
Teachers and secondary students can build a shop version of the Exploratorium’s Light Island to investigate shadows. The site provides detailed plans and a materials list.

Online Activities

Greeting Cards
Students may send a free Groundhog Day e-card to friends and family.

Measuring With Shadows
In this online demonstration, students in grades 3-5 use a stick and a shadow to measure the height of Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Trigonometry: Stick and Shadows
Students in grades 11-12 use shadows to learn how the sides and angles of a triangle are related to each other.

Background Resources



Grades PreK-2

A Garden for a Groundhog by Lorna Balian
Groundhog's Day At The Doctor by Judy Delton
Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak
It's Groundhog Day by Steven Kroll
Wake Up Groundhog by Carol Cohan
Will Spring Be Early? Or Will Spring Be Late? by Crockett Johnson
My Shadow by Robert Lewis Stevenson.
Shadowville by Michael Bartalos
Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow by Ann Tompect
Me and My Shadow by Arthur Dorros
Mr. Wenk and His Shadow by Dick Gackenback
Shadow by Marcia Brown

Grades 3-5

Woodchuck by Faith McNulty


last updated January 13, 2020


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