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

 

A Little About Igloos

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!

School Turned Real Life

We love taking the things we’re learning and going beyond “school” to make learning a part of our lives.  Our study of the Arctic and Antarctica came to life with this igloo.

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. I guarantee it will be a learning experience your kids never forget.  And definitely learn more about the Arctic and Antarctica from Layers of Learning Unit 1-9.  Its geography section is chock of full of fun ways to learn about the earth’s poles.

Additional Layers

  • Igloos can be small (for just one person) or large multi-family, multi-room dwellings. Don’t have snow where you live?  (Or maybe you just don’t want to brave the cold!)  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.

More From Layers of Learning

The arctic unit is just the tip of the iceberg!  Layers of Learning is a complete homeschool curriculum full of amazing, engaging, hands-on lessons for your whole family to enjoy together.  Come read our curriculum guide to learn more, and visit our catalog to see all that we offer.

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