Teaching first grade students about Groundhogs is one of my favorite science units to teach in February.
The topic of Groundhogs is naturally exciting in February because of Groundhog's Day which makes it easily engaging for a science unit.
I use this opportunity to talk about their habitats, diets and how their features help them survive in their environment.
This post is definitely for you if you're looking to spice up your February science lessons and save some time by combining science, reading and writing for a fun and engaging groundhog themed unit.
Groundhog Facts for First Grade
We start by learning the basic facts about groundhogs.
I use the vocabulary/picture cards (seen on the left) to introduce or review vocabulary related to groundhogs such as hibernate or burrow.
This is a good way to measure how much your first grade students already know about groundhogs and also activate their background knowledge.
If we want to do a “deep dive” into a certain animal, we will do a little bit of research on groundhogs using the National Geographic Kids website.
I really like to highlight that groundhogs have different features that help them survive in their environments such as strong teeth or warm fur.
The “All About Groundhogs” worksheet (seen on the left) is a great way for us to do that!
Just about everything at the beginning of our unit is done together as a whole group, and is what I call “guided practice” because I am guiding the class through most of it.
PS. If you want to save time, you can simply show the activity on a document camera and complete it together as a class. This is my go to trick for science and social studies since we very rarely have time for it.
More Facts about Groundhogs
Now, it's time for some more independent activities where students show what facts they have learned about reindeer.
If I want to save time… which is ALWAYS… I'll put these science themed activities in my writing station during guided reading time.
This works GREAT when it's a topic that we've already talked about as a class and something that the kids are really interested in.
Which makes this groundhog unit the PERFECT activities to use as independent writing station activities.
You can see one of my favorite Groundhog independent activities to the right where students have to cut and paste the results of the groundhog's shadow.
P.S. Groundhog's Runaway Shadow is one of my FAVORITE books to read on Groundhog's day! You can find links to more of my favorite groundhog books below!