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Topic – Why Igloos Work

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Why Igloos Work

Inuit village

Inuit building an igloo

Inuit people are the original inhabitants of North America’s Arctic region. They are very strong people. They have to be because the Arctic is a very difficult place to live. Inuit live mostly in the tundra. The tundra has few plants and trees.   

In the past, Inuit ate mostly animals. They lived in tent-like huts made from animal skins in the summer. In the winter, they travelled farther north to the sea ice to hunt for seals. They also hunted whales, walruses, and polar bears. In their winter camps, they built and lived in igloos. They might stay in an igloo for a few days or for the whole winter.

Why were igloos good winter homes?

• Igloos are made from snow blocks. There is a lot of snow in the Arctic in the winter so Inuit always had the material they needed to build an igloo.

• All you need to build an igloo is a saw or a large knife and a shovel. Someone who knows how to build an igloo can build a small one in less than an hour.

• Igloos are shaped like a dome. Domes are like half a sphere. A structure in the shape of a dome is very strong. Domes also support their own weight. They do not need walls or columns inside to hold them up.

• The walls of an igloo block the wind. It is very windy in the Arctic, and it can make the temperature feel much colder. The tightly packed snow blocks stop freezing winds from reaching the people inside the igloo.

• Snow and ice act as an insulator. This means that heat inside the igloo stays there. Any heat made inside the igloo does not escape. Temperatures inside an igloo can be much warmer than outside.

• Igloos can be big or small. They can be built for one person or for a whole family. Some can be big enough to use as a meeting hall.

Today, most Inuit live in permanent communities all year round. But many still build igloos today when they go on hunting trips.

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