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Building sugar igloos builds preschool skills

Caledonia — Duncan Lake Early Childhood Center preschool teacher Trisha Scott found a way to bring winter indoors after reading “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats with her students. 

“What happened when Peter tried to bring snow inside?” Scott asked a table of 3-year-olds.

“It melts!” All three students said. 

Unlike snow, but a similar color, sugar cubes do not melt inside, so Scott opened a box and poured some in the middle of the table. 

She held up two photos of igloos and asked her students, “What are these homes?” 

“‘Gloos!” preschooler Elena said.

Temporary winter homes or hunting ground shelters of Canadian and Greenland Inuit, igloos are traditionally made with hard blocks of snow, packed together with loose snow.

In Scott’s class, sugar cubes replaced snow blocks and frosting served as the bonding agent. 

“They’re practicing their fine motor skills, spatial awareness and problem-solving skills with this project,” Scott said. 

Several students used trial and error to determine a successful frosting-to-cube ratio, without getting their hands too messy.

Preschooler Lucian said he liked to build things and was very focused on making the tallest, sturdiest igloo walls with his cubes.  

When asked if he was going to live in his igloo, Lucian said no, it was too small for him.

He said, “Maybe a polar bear could live in it, or a T-rex.” 

Read more from Caledonia: 
‘We’ve tried to create a place to find joy’
Core knowledge, with apples

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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