Geography Quest: Groundhog Day Edition

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Geography Quests are short assignments which ask students to search and explore topics related to the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it interacts with the distribution of populations and resources, land use, and industries. Geography Quest: Groundhog Day Edition is all about the origin and story behind that whimsical winter day we all love.

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It’s that time of year again, when Punxutawney Phil comes out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and either sees his shadow or doesn’t.

Otherwise known as Groundhog Day, this tradition has been around since 1887 when a group of groundhog hunters named themselves the groundhog club.

Let’s go questing and find out more about this weather predicting cultural event!

Find Out More about Punxutawney Phil & Groundhog Day

Geography is more than just places on the map. It’s also about culture and the people in a place.

A look at United States culture would not be complete without a mention of Groundhog Day.

Elementary students all over have colored and cut at least one Groundhog project in the past week, right? Of course.

  • Find out more about when the tradition of Groundhog Day started. Visit the official Punxutawney Groundhog website.
  • How about some Groundhog Day lessons?
  • A post about studying Groundhog Day from last year- this is a nice one if you need to let go of any guilt of not having made any groundhogs with your primary kids!
  • What celebration did Groundhog Day come from that was a tradition for the early German settlers of Pennsylvania? (see the FAQ on the Groundhog site)
  • Map the location of Punxutawney, PA and Gobbler’s Knob. Where do the 20,000+ people go to see this forecast?

Weather Predicting & Climate Groundhog Style

From the Groundhog Day Edition of The Artist’s Palette, 2013.

While it may not be wise to get all of our weather knowledge from our favorite groundhog, Groundhog Day does give us pause to think about when spring will arrive.

While weather itself is more earth science oriented, climate is most definitely a discipline of geography.

  • Did you see this year’s prediction? Watch on the official groundhog day site linked above for a video of the event on the morning of the 2nd or watch it in reply if you don’t get up with groundhogs!
  • Did you know that February 5th is Weather Forecasters Day? Is that a happy coincidence or are meteorologists keeping good company with critter forecasting?
  • How much more winter? This is a great opportunity to study climate trends at your latitude and to look at averages for when spring weather really arrives. Does Phil’s prediction match the expectations in your area this year?
  • Look at differences in spring’s arrival as you travel north away from the equator. Growing up in Maryland and living about 400 miles north of there in New York state has given me a whole new perspective on spring! I also experience big differences in the amount of daylight just 400 miles north. See if you can choose places on the map and compare their spring arrivals. Eye opening for sure!
  • A set of resources on the effect of latitude on climate– from cK-12 Foundation.

Enjoy a fun look at weather and climate as you explore more about Groundhog Day

and look at the bright side… it’s February and for some of you that means spring is on the way soon- how soon?

Study the climate and find out!

Geography Quest Printable for Your Adventures

Want a fun place to record your adventures with Geography Quests? These printables let you record your results in any way you’d like for every Geography Quest. There are nearly 40 Quests for your family for any age.

Sign up and receive this download, plus a few more I think you’ll love!

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  1. Don’t know if you already know about it or not, but Journey’s North Mystery Class is a great project for learning about the seasons, culture and more. Calculating and analysing data about hours of daylight – and later using cultural clues you try and identify the location of ten secret sites around the world. My kids have taken part for the past few years now and always enjoy it. It started last Friday and runs through until May . There’ still plenty of time to join and it takes less than an hour most weeks. Just google Journey North Mystery Class if you’re interested.

  2. Heather – thank you! We have been enjoying these today. And we are very thankful that our southern groundhog, General Beauregard Lee, predicted an early spring 🙂

    1. Thanks Tricia! I don’t know how because it was snowing to beat the band, but somehow our groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter!

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