This activity can be used at grade 7 or beyond. It can be done with a scientific or graphing calculator.
Below are links to a word document of the activity, a pdf of the activity, a pdf of the answer key, a TI-Nspire file of the activity, and a zip file with all these files.
According to folklore:
If it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on February 2, then spring will come early.
If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
There are several celebrations of Groundhog Day throughout the world, but the largest and most popular takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at Gobbler’s Knob, where crowds as large as 40,000 have attended the ceremony (about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh).
The German-based tradition began in the U.S in 1887.
A groundhog is also known as a woodchuck, a member of the squirrel family. Naturally they eat green plants such as grasses, clover and dandelions. Punxsutawney Phil, however, thrives on dog food and ice cream in his climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library.
Up on Gobbler’s Knob, Phil is placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on stage before being pulled out at 7:25 a.m. to make his prediction.
Here is a summary of whether or not Phil has seen has shadow from 1887 through 2015:
NO shadow 12
no record 9
1 – 5. Please round all answers to the nearest percent or nearest whole number.
1.What percent of the time that records were kept, did Phil see his shadow?
2.What percent of the time that records were kept, did Phil not see his shadow?
3. What percent of the time since 1887, was there no record of what Phil saw?
4. Assume that records will be kept from now on. If the pattern above continues and you know that Phil has seen his shadow 150 times at some date in the future, how many times would he NOT have seen his shadow at that time? Explain.
5. How often has Phil been correct? Take a guess. Since 1887, when records were kept, what percent of the time do you think Phil was correct?
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