Groundhog day is an excellent opportunity to introduce science concepts. Of course, there’s fun in predicting whether the groundhog will see his shadow or not.
Consider that this science lesson contains so much information: shadows, light/dark, spring/winter, and habitats. That is, learning about groundhog can give you so many opportunities to teach besides math concepts.
In this instance, shadows are a way to investigate measurements and how shadows form.
What are Shadows?
Shadows are fantastic scientific concepts. In simple terms, shadows occur when there’s no light. Light waves can go through transparent or translucent objects.
Also, light can reflect or refract when objects are shiny. When these conditions are not met, shadows form.
For instance, when a light source is at an angle with an opaque object, a shadow forms behind it. Depending on the angle of the light source, the lengths of shadows will vary.
That is, you might see your shadow differently early in the morning on a sunny day than at noon.
Exploring Shadows with Preschoolers
For preschoolers, exploring shadows can be an exciting activity. Of course, whenever you have a sunny day, you can study shadows outdoors.
There’s plenty to investigate.
For instance, you can create various movements and see how many different shadows you can see. Also, you can explore objects’ shadows at different times of the day.
By having a visual representation of what your students see, your students will grasp other concepts of shadows. In this way, having prior knowledge of shadows and how to see them will activate other learning concepts.
Groundhog Day for Bilingual Learning
For bilingual learners, groundhog day can be an exciting opportunity to learn about shadows and measurements. By using bilingual terms, you can support your students with vocabulary terms as well as mathematical concepts.
If you’re working with younger students, use counter markers like dots or stickers. Besides creating fun lessons to learn about shadows, you might want to introduce measurement before starting this lesson.
For instance, you can use many different scenarios to measure and use the concept of large, small, and comparisons.
Groundhog Day Shadow Activities
For the groundhog day shadow bilingual activities, you can use the necessary materials such as paper rolls and the groundhog template. Then, you can paste the groundhog onto a craft stick.
Next, you can simulate the groundhog emerging from its burrow. Once you do that, you begin exploring the different types of shadows that it can create.
Step 1: Think Question – Do shadows change lengths? Yes/No, I think shadows do/don’t change lengths.
Step 2: What Do You Need?
- ruler or measurement items
- groundhog shadows
- white pieces of paper
- empty paper towel roll
- safety scissors
- markers or construction paper
- craft stick
Step 3: Measurements
- Turn on your flashlight or light source.
- Place a white sheet of paper behind the groundhog display.
- Aim the light source in front of the groundhog display to create a shadow behind it.
- Trace the shadow.
- Ask your students to make predictions.
- Then, conduct measurements with a ruler or dots as a measuring device.
Step 4: What Did You Find? Explore the various shadow lengths as you move the light source multiple ways.
- A). Place the lights source at about zero degrees or make a long shadow.
- B). Place the light source at about 45 degrees or make a short shadow,
- C). Place the light source at about 90 degrees or make various lengths of shadows.
Step 5: Let’s Talk About It
Go further in learning about shadows when you open the discussion with your students. For instance, you can begin by asking questions about which shadows were longer and shorter.
Then, you might ask what makes them that way. Other questions to include are what changes you could make? Would other materials create different results? How can other animals detect changes in light and dark?
Groundhog day bilingual activities are ideal ways to learn math and science. Besides using measurements, you can also ask your students to make inferences, comparisons, and other investigations.
Learning math doesn’t have to stop with numbers. You can also combine other subjects like reading and science to deepen the learning experience.
This lesson is ideal for standards II-MR3.7, II-MR3.12, II-MR3.13 (math), and II-SC2.3 (science) of the Common Knowledge Preschool Sequence.
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