Preschoolers Igloo Project

What started out as a reading session ended in a huge igloo made of milk jugs for our preschool classes this winter.

Preschoolers read "Welcome to the ICE HOUSE", by Jane Yolen in the winter months and talked about homes in the cold and, as a result, the class decided to make one. The students looked at pictures of igloos and thought that the extra milk jugs in their classroom looked like ice blocks and would might work for constructing an "ice house" or igloo.

"We chose to make an igloo for our home. The students set out jugs and considered ways to get the jugs to stick together," explained Preschool Teacher Trixie Onstott, "They discussed several options but came up with red tape and Elmer’s glue."

"We quickly figured out that this tape was not sturdy enough and we had to add clear packing tape. We experimented with ways to put the tape," continued Onstott, " and after a few days of building someone tried hot glue, which seemed to work well."

"The students ran out of milk jugs and said that they had some at home. We discussed the size, shape, and that they would have to be clean or our igloo would smell bad," explained Onstott, "the students began bringing in milk jugs from home and added on to our igloo daily. Many of the families and the staff at WMFC began dropping off milk jugs, also. It was a slow process, but after 3 months of hard work and much gluing and taping by Karann, Katelynn and the children, we were able to have a completed igloo in our classroom. When it was finished it consisted of 372 milk/water jugs!"

The igloo was built near the window in the classroom and when the sun would shine it was a great place to read a book. The children created their own rules on how to use the igloo: only three friends at a time, sit, read and come out when it is time for large or small group. After having the igloo in the classroom all winter the children decided that when Spring came the igloo would melt.

"The second day of Spring our igloo began to "melt." That meant that we would need to dismantle our igloo and recycle the milk jugs.." explained Onstott, " when we began to crush the milk jugs we realized that the jugs had lids on them and that there were many different colors. We found some containers and decided while the igloo was "melting" we would collect and sort the lids into all the different colors. We ended up with nine different color lids. When all of the milk jugs were crushed, we put them into six large recycling bags and they were taken to the shed to wait for recycle day."

The igloo project didn't end when the igloo had "melted". It quickly went from a building project to a math project/lesson. "Once the excitement of crushing 372 milk jugs wore off," explained Onstott, "we were left with nine containers of milk lids, We talked and decided that we would begin counting them the next day. When we counted the lids we made a graph of which color had the least and the most. We made predictions along the way of which color would have the most based on how full the container was before we began counting. Blue lids ended up having the most with 70 lids and yellow had the least with just 3."

The containers of lids will stay out in the classroom along with the graph to remind the children of the great time they had with the igloo and the fun math lesson that followed.