TA News

Does an Igloo or a Quinzee Make a Better Snow Shelter?

Thetford Academy students wanted to see if an Igloo or a quinzee makes a better snow shelter. Better was defined as which snow shelter would last longer and hold the most heat. An Igloo is a  snow shelter that is made with snow blocks. A quinzee is a big pile of snow that you go and hollow out from the inside.

TA students used an igloo making tool that creates a catenary arch to make the igloo. To make the quinzee they made a big pile of snow and let it sinter (harden) overnight then hollowed it out from the inside.  The hypothesis was that, if a quinzee and an igloo are built, then the igloo will last the longest and will hold the most heat.

The hypothesis was not fully correct; the igloo held the most heat but the quinzee lasted the longest. The quinzee lasted 9 days and the igloo only lasted 6 days. Both shelters may have lasted longer if the weather had not turned so warm. In conclusion, the longer sinter time of the quinzee made it stronger than the catenary arch of the igloo.

The igloo was a lot bigger than the quinzee—so big that ten students were able to have class in the igloo. The body heat of the students easily warmed up the igloo. The quinzee was not big enough for the whole class to be in at the same time, but it was very sturdy.

Overall the learning experience of building these two winter shelters was very interesting and taught the class about snow properties, sintering, catenary arches, and how to work together to reach a goal.



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