Igloo Exploration

When I was a kid we had one particular winter I remember that had record snowfalls. We spent oodles of time sledding on a giant hill in our neighborhood, building snowmen, and making snow angels. We even made a huge mound of snow that we dug out the center of to create a snow fort. Looking back I think we were crazy (and so were our parents!), but my little brother and I actually slept out one night in the snow fort. Here we are in our cozy fort!

Sleeping-in-the-igloo-we-built_1

 

Igloos are amazing because of their insulation properties. First, snow is a very easy material to shape and form. It can be tightly packed, keep out all wind, is easy to cut and shape, is surprisingly sturdy, and blocks of it are relatively lightweight. A well constructed igloo coupled with body heat and a small oil lamp actually raises the outside temperature by about 40 degrees. So if it’s ten below freezing outside, an igloo’s temperature inside could get up to about 30 degrees! This is because the occupants of an igloo act like a double furnace, trapping body heat right in. A few days after construction the insulation only gets better as the inside melts a bit, then refreezes as solid ice. It becomes warmer and also super strong!

Tim built this igloo for Harrison.  The window is made of a block of ice. Tim froze water in a square bucket outside over night.  In this picture there is an electric lantern inside the window.

Tim built this igloo for Harrison. The window is made of a block of ice. Tim froze water in a square bucket outside over night. In this picture there is an electric lantern inside the window.

If it’s snowy where you are, brave the cold for an afternoon and create an igloo or snow fort of your own. Maybe the brave among us will try it out for the night!

Additional Layers

  • Igloos can be small (for just one person) or large multi-family, multi-room dwellings. Use sugar cubes to create a small igloo model and a larger one with multiple rooms connected by tunnels.
  • In the Swiss Alps there are actually igloos you can rent to stay in during the ski season. Do a little internet research and find out how much it costs to stay in one. What’s a better deal..an igloo or a little mountain chalet?
  • Check out this ice hotel. Plan out a vacation here and create a travel brochure to advertise it.
  • One of the main industries of the Inuit people is creating art, often through sculpture. Use bars of white soap to carve simple figures of native style art.

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