Park Elementary School second grade teacher Deena Smith hatched a plan with her students to build a milk carton igloo in class last winter. She urged the kids and other teachers to save the opaque white plastic bottles for the class.
“I had everyone helping--students, friends and families, teachers at school,” Smith said. She estimated they would need 400.
The class started building the project at the end of January. In the end, it took 369 bottles. The project was inspired by a reading assignment in which two Eskimo siblings, Oolak and Oomoo, met a polar bear they called “Usk”. The two lived in an igloo, and Usk would visit them. The students added a cut-out of Usk on the side of their classroom igloo, and now use it as a place to read library books and have “iPad time”.
Smith admits the finished project takes up a lot more space than she thought it would.
“We wanted to make it large enough for several students to fit in it at the same time,” she said. Principal Phil Heeke and Smith used a couple of refrigerator boxes to trace an outline they used to lay out the first rows of the cartons, she said. Caps remained on, creating a colorful interior. Students took turns building and gluing.
“It took about three days to build,” Smith said. “It went very quickly.”
The kids continue to enjoy it, and kids from other classes have peeked in to view the finished hideout. When the novelty has worn off, Smith says the class will disassemble it and it will take the blocks to the recycling center for their next use.