Learning About Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day is a holiday that many young children have heard about but don’t quite understand. I was able to easily integrate this holiday and learning into our current Winter & Polar Inquiry due to the hibernation aspect, making it relevant to the children and not completely out of context from their focus of study. The image below shows some snapshots of video clips the children viewed, stories we read and the kinds of questions we explored in order to get a better idea of what really happens with groundhogs this time of year.
First, we learned about the tradition of Groundhog Day but then we learned that groundhogs don’t really intend to look for their shadows when they emerge from their burrows in February. Actually, they don’t care about their shadows at all! They really only come out to keep tabs on the location of nearby female groundhog’s burrows so that when spring comes, they know exactly where to go. In a way, they can give us an inclination about whether spring is close by or not because of course, if the groundhog chooses to go back into his burrow, it is clearly not warm enough for him to leave hibernation. However, this is true for many animals.