Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Moderated by: Leisa Winrich


I am posting a message that came across LM_Net which I thought we could
use in Math classes as well as other classes.  Suggested activities
follow in another message.  Enjoy!


                    Groundhog reports from around the USA
                            and the United Kingdom

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 07:20:04 -0800
From: Laurie Carter lcarter@ISERVER.WOODSIDE.K12.CA.US
Subject: Groundhog Day Hit!
To: Multiple recipients of list LM_NET  LM_NET@SUVM.SYR.EDU

It was such fun to come in this morning and find messages from all over the
country.  I have combined them in one letter for all who are interested.  If
anyone wants to add more, I know our teachers will get a kick out of it.

At the end there is a wonderful report on Groundhogs!

We are Mrs. Anderson's fourth grade class at Garlough Elementary
School in West St. Paul, Minnesota.  We are going to try to predict
the arrival of spring by tracking groundhog sightings throughout
North America.

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England

-- Dear Laurie and Friends,

        We live in Centralia, Missouri --- in the middle of the state,
Northeast of Columbia.

Mr. Groundhog will see his shadow today.

No, the groundhog would not see his shadow in Bolivar, Ohio.

No.  Circleville, Ohio

I am writing from Massapequa Park, NY on the south shore
of Long Island.  It's very sunny here, so if there is a
groundhog in the vicinity, he or it would definitely see
its shadow.  However, the groundhog at the Staten Island Zoo,
which is about 15 miles from here, did not see his shadow.
Have fun collecting data.  It would be fun if you posted a hit
telling the places you heard from.

Ruth Lessinger

yes, Flint, Michigan

Hello Laurie Carter,

Phil - the famous groundhog - did not see his shadow this
morning - early spring predicted.

Phil lives in a cage about one and half to two hours from
here. He normally resides in a special home in the public
library until this important date, and other special days.
He visits the local schools quite frequently, and shows up
in a few parades.

Temperature in Clarion, PA at 8:00 AM was 24 degrees and there
was a light covering of snow on the ground!

I am from Clarion, PA, and as a native of this area I
take great stock in Punxsutawney Phil's predictions.  I
have never gone to Gobbler's Knob on Feb. 2 but, instead
watch it on TV.  The estimated crowd this year was 8,000.

If you have not already heard, Phil did not see his shadow,
predicting an early spring.  It is more complicated than
simply seeing his shadow and if you are really interested
I can send you material.  Also, if you were to write to the
Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce they would send you a list
of items that can be purchased at reasonable prices.  The
videotape made a couple of years ago is worth purchasing.

There may not be anything scientific about it, but it is a
lot of fun and gives us something to look forward to after
some of our harsh winters.

Elaine Moore
Clarion University of PA
Clarion, PA 16214

YES! Looks like 6 more weeks of winter for Cairo, Georgia.

Ann Wooten
Cairo High School "Home of the Syrupmakers"
Cairo, Georgia

Waterloo, IA

Good morning!  The groundhog did NOT see his shadow today in Waverly, Iowa.
It is cloudy today, and in the low 30's.

yes, clear and sunny
Arlington, Tx (between Dallas and Fort Worth)
Jan Moore
Foster Elementary

HH  HH  EE      LL      LL      OO  OO
HH  HH  EE      LL      LL      OO  OO
HH  HH  EE      LL      LL      OO  OO
HH  HH  EE      LL      LL      OO  OO
HH  HH  EEEEEE  LLLLLL  LLLLLL  OOOOOO from the North Star State!!!

The groundhog *did* see his shadow here.

The sun is shining in Cumberland Maine so I guess the groundhog saw his
shadow.  How sad.  We are located 10 miles north of Portland.  Our winter
has been very mild and the ski industry is suffering.  So if we have 6
more weeks of winter, I guess they'll be happy.
Judy Gray

    Subject: Yes, Warsaw, Missouri

Yes, the groundhog saw his shadow at Clarksburg, MO (30 mi. W. of our state
capital, Jefferson City, MO.


No, our Indiana hedgehog did not see his shadow.

Plainfield, Indiana   (7 miles southwest of Indianapolis)

Yes, the groundhog saw his shadow today.
Fort Worth, Texas

NE Nebraska

Foggy, 1/8th mile visibility  *no shadow*

  The weather outside is cold . It's about 28 degrees faranheight. It is
overcast in Lansing,Michigan . Today the groundhog didn't see his shadow due
the overcast.

NO!  Lowell,Arkansas (NW Arkansas)

It is Thursday,February 2,1995.Today is Groundhog's Day and the weather is
cloudy and overcast.The Groundhog did'nt see it's shadow so that means spring
is just around the corner.

ajaina keshick
pattengill middle school
lansing ,mi

The ground hog did not see his shadow where I live (Champaign, IL) and it
did not see it where I work (Rantoul, Il)--however it is supposed to snow
tonight, tomorrow and probably Sat!
Go figure.

   The groundhog at sunrise this morning could not have seen his shadow
in Baltimore.  It is now almost 10am and he would be able to see his shadow.
We haven't really had any snow yet this winter- so his prediction could
be either way.  We are expecting snow this weekend.

It is February 2 in Walla Walla, WA - no sun, no shadow!
Jackie George
Sharpstein Elementary
Walla Walla, WA

Hi! Goodlettsville, TN - *no*

Yes,the sun is shining brightly in Baldwin City, Kansas.


Yes at 7:30 am MST; no at 9am MST   (Helena is east of the divide)

Cheri Bergeron
Office of Public Instruction
Helena, Montana

The groundhog would see his shadow around here.  It is sunny and 80
degrees.  I am Poteet TX (25 miles south of San Antonio.  If the students
would like to look it up it is at L 2902 25 N 98 34 04W.

We divided up our class into five and we wrote the following report
about groundhogs for you.

Groundhog Day is a special day for many people in different areas.
As far back as the middle ages, farmers used animals as weather
predictors.  When settlers moved from Germany to Pennsylvania,
they brought this belief with them.  In Germany, however, they
depended on the badger to predict coming weather.  Since badgers
weren't common where they settled in Pennsylvania, the groundhog
became the substitute.  It is said that on February 2 a groundhog is
supposed to come out of his den.  If he sees his shadow, he will get
frightened and go back into his hole for six more weeks.  If it is a
cloudy day and he does not see his shadow, he will comeout and it
means spring will come soon.

The ground hog has a very unique description. This woodchuck is
related to the squirrel. The adult is about two feet long and weighs ten
pounds. It has a broad flat head. This animal is gray on its upper parts
and yellowish orange on its under part. Their legs and tails are dark
brown and black. This warm-blooded animal has short legs and ears.
This mammal has a heavy body. The ground hog has five toes and also
twenty-two teeth. The hearing and sight of the ground hog is keen.
The discription of the ground hog is impressive.

The groundhog's habitat is very unique. This mammal's burrow
cntains several chambers. There are three exits front, back and the
drophole. The hole opens into a straight shaft that goes down two
or more feet.  They live in Canada and Eastern and Midwest United
States.  They dig their burrows with the sharp claws of their front
feet.  They scrape the dirt out of the hole with their hind feet.  The
colony may have a territory of two to three acres.  Some tunnels
may be over 30 feet long.  They live in fields, open woodlands,
rocky places and slopes of mountains.  Their entrances are well
hidden.  Groundhogs line their home with grasses and leaves.
The dens are snug and warm during the winter.

The goundhog eats a variety of food.  These creatures eat tender
green plants, alfalfa, clover, roots bublbs, tubers, and seeds.  This
untamed animal doesn't store food in the winter because it hibernates.
The woodchucks feed in groups while one stays on guard.  This
mammal digs dens near food and water.  They eat large amounts of
food in the fall.

The woodchuck's young are fascinating.  The female gives birth to
four, five, or six cubs in the late spring.  The cubs are born naked
and blind.  For one month the cubs will drink their mother's nourishing
and rich milk.  When they can start to see, they will eat tender grasses
and explore the outside.  By July, they leave their family and travel two
to three miles and start their own family.

The goundhog's hibernation is so cool it's hard to believe.  They
will eat a variety of foods before hibernation.  The fat will keep them
alive while in its burrow.  While it's sleeping, it breathes every six
minutes.  The body of the groundhog will decrease in temperature from
100 degrees to 38 degrees F.  The heart and other organs will shut down.
They will curl up in a tight ball and sleep.

P.S.  If you DON'T have groundhogs where you are, or if they don't
hibernate where you live, be sure respond to this study!

Special thanks to Heidi Hammond
Garlough Elementary

Laurie Carter- Library Media Teacher
Woodside Elementary School
3195 Woodside Rd.
Woodside, CA 94062
"Minds are like parachutes.  They only function when open."

        Activities to accompany "Groundhog Reports..."
                       Delmar, Maryland

1.  Divide the class into cooperative groups of 4 students.

2.  Distribute maps of the USA and world to each student.

3.  Distribute the groundhog reports so that each group of
    students has a copy. Students also receive paper for
    their chart and graph.

4.  Students make a chart tallying the reports listing
    location (city/state/country).

5.  Students locate each site on the map and discuss which
    location is not in the USA.  Locate that country on a
    world map.

6.  Students make a graph from their data chart.

7.  Older students locate the cities using global addresses
    (latitude and longitude) Use geo server to locate
    latitude and longitude  telnet to: 3000

8.  Older students identify time zones for each location.

9.  An older student might want to write to the Punxsutawney
    Chamber of Commerce for more information as suggested by
    the teacher in Clarion, PA.  Her e-mail address is listed
    and she could provide more information.

10. In science class discuss the groundhog's habitat.

11. Older classes could discuss the origin of groundhog day
    in the US and it's European origin.

12. Older students might debate the issue of animals' rights

13. Questions about the names of cities...

    A.  Are any of the cities the state capital?
    B.  Do any of the names have something interesting about

        a. Cairo, Georgia (Cairo is also ...)
        b. Waterloo, Iowa (Waterloo is important because...)
        c. Arlington, Texas (another Arlington is famous
        d. Cumberland, Maine (We have a Cumberland in MD)
        e. Warsaw, Missouri (Where is there another Warsaw?)

...please add your own and share them with us all!

                              Lock Haven, PA, USA

From:         "Larry J. Geguzis"

    There was a light covering of snow on the ground and was a partly
sunny day, but instead of just the usual seeing or "not seeing" happening,
something else came along with it.
    At the usual time, the ground hog came, and whether or not the next
event happened because of all the cameras and lights, people, etc. or
because of unsuspected rabidness, the officials are so far unsure.  For
whatever the reason, the groundhog attacked and bit 5 people!  Then ran
back into its hole.  The shaddow did appear, but did not make it back to
the hole.  Officials are still deciding whether he "saw" his shaddow or not.

                                       Jennifer Geguzis

                    *Math: Groundhog data chart and graphs
                               Delmar, Maryland

Math keypals,

5th grader, Sara Adkins and 6th grader Leslie Dyson, pictured
here,  took the file of groundhog shadow reports and organized
the data into this chart.  From the data Leslie made two graphs.

               Did the groundhog see his shadow ?

City, State        | Yes, No | Time Zone |Latitude and Longitude
Cambridgeshire Eng.| Yes     | GMT       | 52.5 N  0
Bolivar, OH        | No      | Eastern   | 40 N  81 W
Circleville, OH    | No      | Eastern   | 39 N  82 W
Flint, MI          | Yes     | Eastern   | 43 N  83 W
Cairo, GA          | Yes     | Eastern   | 30 N  4 W
Waterloo, IA       | No      | Central   | 42 N  92 W
Arlington, TX      | Yes     | Central   | 32 N  97 W
Warsaw, MO         | Yes     | Central   | 38 N  93 W
Fortworth, TX      | Yes     | Central   | 32 N  97 W
Centralia, MO      | Yes     | Central   | 39 N  92 W
Massapequa Park, NY| Yes     | Eastern   | 40 N  73 W
Clarion, PA        | No      | Eastern   | 41 N  79 W
Cumberland, ME     | Yes     | Eastern   | 43 N  70 W
Plainfield, IN     | No      | Eastern   | 39 N  86 W
Walla Walla, WA    | No      | Pacific   | 46 N  118 W
Lansing, MI        | No      | Eastern   | 42 N  84 W
Goodlettsville, TN | No      | Eastern   | 36 N  86 W
Baltic City, KS    | Yes     | Central   |
Omaha, NE          | No      | Central   | 41 N  95 W
Helena, MT         | Yes     | Mountain  | 46 N  112 W
Poteet, TX         | Yes     | Central   | 29 N  98 W

    Time Zones reporting whether he saw his shadow or not

  T  CST-########
  I  ----------------------------------------------------
  M  EST-$$$$$$$$$$$$
  E  ----------------------------------------------------
  Z  ----------------------------------------------------
  O  MST-%
  N  ----------------------------------------------------
  E  GMT-*
  S  ----------------------------------------------------
                   |    Key        |
                   |# = Central    |
                   |$ = Eastern    |
                   |& = Pacific    |
                   |% = Mountain   |
                   |* = Greenwich  |
                   | each symbol = |
                   | one city      |
                   --------------- |

       We found out that most of the people that took part in this project
were mostly in the east and central part of the country.  There were only 2
other people who took part in the west and one from outside the USA.

         Did the Groundhog see his shadow or not?
     14-|                   |
        |                   |
     12-|   $               |
R       |   $               |
E    10-|   $               |
S       |   $        &      |
P     8-|   $        &      |
O       |   $        &      |
N     6-|   $        &      |
S       |   $        &      |
E     4-|   $        &      |
S       |   $        &      |
      2-|   $        &      |
        |   $        &      |

           Yes       No

          12/21 people saw his shadow.  9/21 did not see his shadow.

Leslie Dyson
Delmar Elementary
11 years old

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