Indoor igloo sparks school-wide interestThe warm weather isn’t melting Bryant Elementary School’s igloo, but gravity is. An igloo made of milk jugs and hot melt glue has taken up residence outside Stacy Homstad and Sarah Winkle’s classrooms. Their learning project turned into a school-wide activity, with kids of all ages bringing in milk jugs.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The warm weather isn’t melting Bryant Elementary School’s igloo, but gravity is. An igloo made of milk jugs and hot melt glue has taken up residence outside Stacy Homstad and Sarah Winkle’s classrooms. Their learning project turned into a school-wide activity, with kids of all ages bringing in milk jugs.
“The whole school got involved and it was great to see that as well as their reaction to watching it grow,” said Homstad, who teaches children in kindergarten through second grade with cognitive disabilities.
Parents still drop by in the mornings and afternoons to take a look at the structure, decorated with lights, a penguin and a stuffed bear.
“It’s kind of a big thing for our kids,” Homstad said, and it’s generated a lot of positive attention for the students who built it.
Homstad found the indoor igloo when looking for a new project for her class.
“We thought it looked like a fun challenge and we tied it to our winter theme,” she said. They invited Winkle’s class, which includes students in grades three through five with cognitive disabilities, to build it with them.
In their research, the students found that Inuits can make an igloo out of ice blocks in 30 minutes.
“This took us over a month,” Homstad said. They started collecting milk jugs in early January, with every class contributing. Students school-wide were asked to predict how many milk jugs it would take to build the igloo. The most common guess was “100.” In fact, it took 522. Two students with the closest predictions — a kindergarten student who guessed 505 and a fifth grader who guessed 509, each earned prizes from the school store.
The igloo was a good hands-on, visual project for the students in Homstad and Winkle’s classes. They focused on taking turns, sharing and working together. They also did lots of counting, trying to keep track of the number of milk jugs as the structure grew. Teachers glued the jugs together. It was hard work, said 7-year-old Brooke Luckey.
“We were getting super tired and sweaty,” she said.
Tuesday some of the students crawled inside to enjoy the igloo they built.
“It is very beautiful,” said CJ Wicklund, 9.
“It’s handsome,” agreed Garrett Lickiss, 10.
“It’s stylish,” CJ said.
What can you do with an indoor igloo?
“Sleep in it,” said Garrett.
“You can walk through and sweep,” said Nash Effinger, 11.
They said being able to go inside the igloo was their favorite part of the project. Before it started melting, the structure was big enough to fit all 16 children from Winkler and Homstad’s classes inside, including three wheelchairs.
Children peered up through the cracks between the milk jugs Tuesday, thinking up possible improvements for next year: an extra room, a taller igloo or other options.
The teachers plan to keep the igloo up at least through next week’s conferences to give all the school families a chance to peek in it.
“I have no idea what we will do with it in the end,” Homstad said, other than turn it into a big recycling project. “For now we are just going to keep it up as long as we can for the kids to enjoy.”
Students who took part in building the igloo included JJ Alseth, Hanna Booth, Deanna Bosma, Cierra Dorin, Sydney Drake, Andrew Ward, Austin West, Brooke Luckey, Chelsea Bockovich, Nash Effinger, Cecilia Pearson, CJ Wicklund, Hailie Williams, Morgan Kigen, John Palmi, Garrett Lickiss and Josh Gerding.