Kids love their shadows, love to chase shadows, and love to make shadows do silly things! There are also some fun things to learn about shadows for science and STEM! With Groundhog Day approaching, I thought it would be fun to make a groundhog puppet and explore the science of shadows.
How To Make A Groundhog Day Puppet
DID THE GROUNDHOG SEE HIS SHADOW?
Animal behaviors have been observed by people in many cultures for a long time. For example; people have looked for clues to changes in the weather from animal behaviors. The reappearance of hibernating animals like groundhogs, bats, and even bears was taken as a sign of the end of winter.
The annual Groundhog Day has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on February 2nd, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.
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Groundhogs can’t actually tell us when the change in seasons will happen. But scientists that study them note that male groundhogs do pop out of their burrows each and every February, to check things out and decide whether or not they should start waking up the female groundhogs to mate. Thus, indicating that Spring is near.
A recent study states that the rodents are now emerging about a month earlier in the spring than they did 30 or 40 years ago which may help scientists understand how animals will react to global warming and other human-driven habitat shifts.
ALSO CHECK OUT: Groundhog Day STEM Activities
- Printable Groundhog Template
- Craft Stick
STEP 1: Print out the groundhog and cloud template.
STEP 2: Color in your groundhog with markers and then cut it out, along with the cloud template.
STEP 3: Glue your groundhog to a craft stick.
STEP 4: Use a flashlight to create a shadow behind your groundhog puppet. The flashlight represents the sun.
STEP 5: Now cover the flashlight with the cloud. Can you still see the shadow?
WHAT IS A SHADOW?
Shadows are all about physics and light. You need a source of light for there to be a shadow. This is the reason why the groundhog may or may not see his shadow depending on the weather that day.
Here, you are using your flashlight as the light source. When an object is in front of the light source it blocks the light and creates the shadow. Since the light can’t pass through our paper, it creates a shadow on the wall. If our paper were transparent however, the light would pass through and there would NOT be a shadow!
You can also play around with the angle you hold your groundhog puppet or how close or far from the wall you hold them. What happens?
Now when Groundhogs Day rolls around you will know exactly what’s going on!
EXTEND THE LEARNING
Try one of these activities below to explore the science of shadows with kids! You can find more fun Groundhog Day STEM Challenges here.
Grab some basic bricks and have fun with LEGO Shadows.
Make a shadow ghost for Halloween.
Make simple animal shadow puppets.
MAKE A GROUNDHOG PUPPET FOR SHADOW SCIENCE
Click on the image below or on the link for more Groundhog Day activities.