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Below The Surface

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow Structures

With winter on it's last leg, the E-Team took advantage of the waterfront's still abundant snow by participating in a friendly snow structure build-off. The challenge was to build a snow bridge a foot high and three “normal steps” long within a half hour. The only tools provided were two recycling bins that could be used to make snow bricks. And with only an hour of daylight remaining, the teams we’re off!

Team 1: Elizabeth, Maja, Faisal, Henry and Erika

It may look like playing, but building snow structures is an art of survival. If you’ve been to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center lately you might have noticed the milk jug igloo that is underway! The milk jug igloo is built to replicate the homes built by the indigenous people of the Arctic. To better understand igloos, we let the E-Team have a shot at building their own snow structures. By using snow bricks, the teams began to know the strength of different shapes. Like at the “Raise the Roof” exhibit, the kids used their understanding of structures to try and build the strongest foot bridge they could out of snow.

When the time was up, both teams had finished their bridges and anxiously awaited judgment. Judgment was based on if a) three steps could be taken on it, and, b) if the bridge had at least clearance of 1 foot. Both teams’ bridges passed the test, however now the teams were in a stalemate. The deciding factor in the competition was now all down to the “jump test”! To see which the better snow structure was, both bridges were to be jumped on, and whichever bridge still remained would be the winner. The teams silently awaited the jump, each hoping theirs would hold. Kirsten lined up, despite her fear of heights atop of the first bridge, and took a jump…


Neither of the bridges could stand up to the rigorous jump test, but nonetheless the E-Team members were all winners in this competition, and now are fully aware of the skills and expertise necessary to build a traditional igloo. If you’re ready to build your own structure, E-Team recommends that you brush up on your skills at ECHO by visiting the Raise the Roof exhibit!

By Pat Alcott UVM ‘14

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