Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why doesn't an Igloo Melt Inside?

Welcome to the October Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Studies of Society and the Environment" which covers all the humanities, from history to finance, geography, politics and of course the environment. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on SOSE.

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I found the theme for this month's Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival to be interesting and a bit of a challenge.  Studies of Society and the Environment has such a broad range, and the topic that ended up coming to mind (with Christmas coming up/Santa/North Pole/snow.... get my drift?) was Eskimo's and Igloo's, and in particular the fascinating question of why don't houses made of ice melt when a fire is lit inside them?  So, my kids and I did some reading about this topic, and we also found some cute crafts and colouring along the way (links of our favorites below).

Igloo's are built from blocks of ice laid in circles upon circles, each layer shaved down so they make a narrowing spiral.  The man making it works from the inside.  Then finally at the top a block with edges wider than below is dropped in to the last space left.  Finally all the cracks are filled in with soft snow.  Next comes the important bit.  An Eskimo takes a very hot lamp inside, then closes the igloo with a block of ice to make everything airtight.  When the ice starts to melt, instead of all dripping down to the ground, the water runs with the curve of the igloo and soaks gradually into the ice bricks so that they are nearly wet through.  When the blocks are all wet, the door is removed, and when the cold air rushes in the house is transformed to a incredibly strong dome of ice!  It's so strong a polar bear can crawl over the roof without breaking it!  However, igloo's only last for the winter as once spring arrives and the temperature rises the igloo does melt and cave in.

Igloo's are a fascinating topic for those living in a warm part of Australia, and it has been fun exploring and thinking about these little ice houses.

To expand on this theme these are the activities I chose for us to work on further:

Igloo Colouring Page (with practice writing on it as well)
Read the book 'Diego's Arctic Adventure' by Emily Sollinger
And if you are looking for a group activity save up your milk bottles and build a milk jug igloo!



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Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn

Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Studies of Society and the Environment."


  • The Planning Queen has pulled together some of the many great sources that you can use to keep kids up to date with world news.
  • SMMART Ideas is writing about how your 2 year old isn't too young to learn the names and locations of the state she lives in and those around her...or even countries of the world!
  • For Adventures with Kids, photos can provide a great starting point for telling or discovering history, from family history to world history. Find out some questions to ask about the photos to get you started and where you can find historical images.
  • Narelle at A Bunch of Keys has been having lots of fun learning all about volcanoes and how they work.
  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey knows that kids are fascinated with igloos - how they are built and why they don't melt. We investigate why!
  • Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has a fun treat to celebrate the end of a geography unit on land and water forms.
  • At Homeage, almost every day they get another piece of the world delivered to their door, helping them learn about where and how other people live.
  • Deb's girls at Science@home have been building their family tree and talking about all their relationships.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, have fun reading all the posts.

8 comments:

MMBB said...

how cool are igloos! I wonder how someone even came up with that? "I'm cold, I'm going to build a house out of...hmm...Ice, that'll do" excellent.

Deb Chitwood said...

What a fun unit study! We always lived where there were cold winters. My husband and son built a snow fort once, and my son’s Boy Scout troop built and camped in an igloo-like snow fort near Vail, Colorado. Your resources would have been great to read then! And I love the igloo crafts!
http://LivingMontessoriNow.com

PlanningQueen said...

It would be great to try and build an igloo. Melbourne's weather has turned, so there would be no problem with melting!

CatWay said...

Fascinating! I think you could try joining ice cubes to make a mini-igloo as another activity. And I have always loved the ice hotels they make in Scandinavian countries which must work in a similar way.

science-at-home.org said...

How fascinating! I knew how they built them, but I had no idea they melted them like that. I think an iceblock igloo would be a fantastic experiment, or polystyrene.

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

Thanks everyone, I do like the ice cube idea! It would illustrate the theory perfectly if you melted them a bit together and put them back in the freezer to see what happened.

Narelle said...

Thanks for teaching ME how igloos work lol! I love that sugar cube igloo activity! How cool is that?!

homeage said...

I wonder why I have never thought about how igloos are made before?! That was really interesting. I would guess that the doors are built a certain way too to keep most of the elements out?

I wonder how you could do the ice cube igloo with the melting? One of those little incense burner candles and then move it to the freezer? Hmm ..