Creative Ways for Kids to Learn the Science of Shadows
Every Groundhog Day, a furry rodent pops out of its burrow and predicts the start depending on whether or not it sees its shadow. The holiday always reminds us of the wonder of shadows, so we wanted to know if this century-old superstition was inspired by any actual science.
Way before weathermen and women graced our television screens and weather satellites circled in space, people turned to animals for signs of what was to come. Groundhogs go into hibernation in the late fall and emerge in early spring, so their departure and arrival signaled the start of a new season. Male groundhogs tend to pop out in February for a brief above-ground greeting and then burrow back down for another month or so. And that habit is likely why Groundhog Day falls in February. So, there is a tiny dose of science behind the tradition but it has nothing to do with seeing shadows.
Nevertheless, this quirky holiday is a great excuse to teach kids about the science of shadows! Here are five shadow-filled projects to keep your kids learning as we patiently (or impatiently) await the arrival of spring.