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The official U.S. time - snapshot


Groundhog Day is February 2nd.

It's Groundhog Day. It's a time when people look to a groundhog to find out whether or not we will be having six more weeks of winter. The idea dates back hundreds of years when people looked to hibernating animals such as badgers, hedgehogs and bears to see when they might wake up from their winter sleep.According to the tradition, if the animals saw its shadow, winter would last several more weeks.If it didn't see it's shadow, spring would be soon arriving.

When Europeans, especially the Germans, came to the United States, they brought the tradition. The groundhog became the animals of choice as it hibernated and looked something like the European hedgehog. Groundhog Day started back in the 1880s with the first official celebration on February 2, 1887. The most famous groundhog weather forecaster is Punxsutawney Phil, of Punxsutawney, PA. On February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil , who lives at the Punxsutawney Library is taken to Gobbler Knob and placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on the stage near where hundreds have gathered. At 7:25 if Punxsutawney Phil comes out to make his weather prediction. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.If he doesn't see his shadow, spring is on its way!

  • Did you know that the groundhog, also called woodchuck, is a relatives of the squirrel?

  • Groundhog day is also celebrated in Canada on Feb. They have several weather forecasting groundhogs including Wiarton Willy, Shubenacadie Sam and Balzac Billy


  • Did you know that Groundhog Day is an official university holiday at the University of Dallas(Irving, TX)? Celebrations are held in honor of the groundhog.


  • The very first mention of a Groundhog Day in the United States was found in a diary entry of James Morris. The year was 1841.


  • Extension activities:

  • Pretend you are Punxsutawney Phil(or another weather forecasting groundhog).Tell about your big day. What did you hear? What did you see? How did you feel being in the limelight?


  • Learn about the country of Germany: Ducksters(Germany)


  • Read more about the groundhog. Draw/color a picture and write 5 facts learned about the groundhog( in complete sentences).http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/groundhog/


  • The Groundhog isn't the only creature in nature that is used to help forecast weather.Can spiders predict a sunny day? My mother-in-law told me that if you see spiders hanging up their wash(making webs) early on a summer morning, it's a sign of a beautiful summer day. See chimney smoke going straight up on a winter's day? Another sign of nice weather. But, if you see ants building mounds, it's a sign of rain. Same with birds roosting on electrical wires, another sign of coming rain. There are lots of weather folklore. Being observant to nature, can help you predict the day's weather, without a weatherman. Illustrate a weather folklore:http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-folklore.htm

  • Note: Photograph from wpclipart.com

    New: Groundhog Day, Reader's Theater Script: Learn about the groundhog and the history of Groundhog Day with Ms. Bie Ografee's guest, Sarsaparilla, the Groundhog:A Visit with a Groundhog!Reader's Theater Script