Ground Hog Day Science Program

If you celebrate Ground Hog Day, did you ever wonder why?

On February 2, according to a Pennsylvania German legend dating back to the 18th century, if a ground hog leaves his hollow and sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. However, if he does not see his shadow, Spring is around the corner.

The PA Ground Hog, Punxsutawny Phil, has correctly predicted the coming weather 39 percent of the time since 1887 according to StormFax Weather Almanac. The National Climate Data Center says the combined record for all ground hogs throughout the country is the furry guys and gals are right about 61 percent.

Experiment: How do shadows work?

Materials: dark room, flashlight, two subjects and white wall

Process: Have one person stand close to the wall and the other away from the wall. Turn out the lights and shine the flashlight on the subjects. Which is the larger shadow?

Result: The closer the person is to the light the larger their shadow because shadows are formed when light does not pass through the object.

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