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Groundhog Day for the Classroom

file0001354955594On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow—or not. 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.

Light and shadows
Students in grades K-4 discover that light travels from a source and that shadows are formed when an object blocks light.

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.

Light and shadows
Students in grades K-4 discover why shadows change angle and size throughout the day. This activity can be uploaded to a White Board.

Geometry: Shadows
Students in grades 5-8 determine if a shadow can be produced by a particular shape.

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
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