The Great (Green) Igloo Build

As you may know, our Green Schoolyards not only offer up NYC kid’s a safe place to play, they also capture hundreds of thousands of gallons of stormwater during rain events…or snow events!

During playground design, students designers learn how NYC’s combined sewer system gets overwhelmed on rainy days, and how their playground helps by keeping that water out of the sewer and in the playground, watering trees and gardens, and being stored in a giant gravel basin under the turf field.

It’s not as intuitive to kids that snow is stormwater too, overwhelming the sewer system as it melts just like a big rain storm would.

You can see it dramatically illustrated in this video of snowmelt pouring off an elevated park this week in Brooklyn!

We finally got to hammer the lesson home with lesson/play event that I’ve been wanting to make happen for years…the Green Infrastructure Igloo Build!

We had a recap mini-lesson on protecting NYC’s waterways and the purpose of Green Infrastructure using our mini-model of a turf field.

We celebrated with a collaborate Igloo build and some snow sculpture. Ms, Soong’s art class took turns in groups as either igloo engineers and environmental artists.

Steps for building an Igloo:

  • Map your Igloo circumference in the snow (going back, I would have made a smaller circumference for we had a better chance of completing our Igloo):

  • Demonstrate how to mold and Igloo brick by packing in the snow for structural integrity! We had a class set of Igloo brick molds, which you can purchase online, but you could also repurpose storage bins or buckets for Igloo brick making. Trowels and good gloves come in very handy.
  • Lay your bricks and have a few kids on duty to “mortar” with snow for stability.
  • We didn’t get this far but, as your Igloo grows, you’ll want them to curve in and be slightly smaller.

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