Inuit Shelter – The Igloo


An igloo is basically a dome of ice cubes and snow. Inuits use snow to make their homes because the air pockets in the snow act like isolation. The snow used for the igloos has to have structural strength to be able to be cut without breaking and then be easily stacked. The ice cubes are cut by a hand made knife. The Inuits often take one block of snow out of the igloos structure to form a window. Some Inuits even make a hole through the ice inside of the dome to be able to ice fish inside their homes. An Inuit men can build an igloo in about one hour.



To prevent cold air from coming inside the igloo, a tunnel is dug in the snow and a door is put at the end of the tunnel to not let the cold air penetrate the igloo. The entrance (tunnel) acts like a trap to cold air so it doesn’t go inside the Inuit’s dwelling. Out side an igloo temperatures varie at about -45c. and inside of an igloo the temperature varie between about -7c. to about 16c. when the only source of heat is body heat. When the Inuits build their igloos the sleeping areas are always higher then the other areas. That is because heat goes upwards and coldness stays towards the ground. When there is a source of heat inside the igloo the walls tend to melt and then refreeze to make a layer of ice on the walls and then reinforce the structure of the igloo. That said not all Inuits live and build igloos only the Inuits of Canada central Arctic and Greenland live and build igloos.


There are mainly three different types of igloos that Inuits build. The smallest of the three is used for hunting trips of only one or two nights. These igloos are often built on open sea ice.

The other igloo considered “medium” is semi-permanent for a medium sized family. It is usually a one roomed igloo for only one or two families, sometimes many of these are made in one area to form an Inuit village.

The largest of the three igloos is 50% for living and the other 50% is used for special occasions. These igloos can have up to 5 rooms and have up to 20 people living inside of it. A large igloo might consist of plenty of small igloos connected together. These large igloos were used to hold committee fest and dances and other occasions.



-Places in time (2007) Savoie Sylvie, Laroche Louis

Author: Jaques, 11 years old



18 responses to “Inuit Shelter – The Igloo

  1. Its incredible how people back then found things and ways to keep them alive

  2. I agree, Barb. Humans could not have spread out all over the planet if they had not been so ingenious. I love flipping through our National Geographics and seeing all the marvelous shelters that human beings have invented.

  3. I realy enjoyed reading about igloos and I knew alot of things I didn’t know before. I didn’t know that they dig a tunnel to prevent the cold air from coming inside the igloo and I didn’t know there were 3 types of igloo.

  4. once i went ice fishing and i saw an igloo and i went in it and it was cool.

  5. Nice work, I really like it

  6. I liked your article on igloos. I never knew that igloos have tunnels as doors to block the coolness. I was just wondering, how do you make an igloo without all the icecubes falling?

  7. Awsome information, I love igloos, very nice igloo picture. Continue the great job!!!

  8. I really think that igloos are interesting becauase its like a house but made of ice.Its also interesting because its like an ice sculpture but you live inside it.

  9. I learned alot about igloos. It’s been snowing alot in England so we might be able to use what you’ve explained to make our own igloos here – so thanks!

  10. They freeze together, one thing I learned in middle school.

  11. sholomo Hart

    shalom. question , would an egloo shaped house be good in a tornado, which are going on in the usa. It would not be made of snow there because its to warm. But the shape would it stand the tornado. If made from other materials then snow. Because i have heard that the winter months up in norhtern canada , that the winds are terrible. Just an idea , or has anyone there know if there was any experiements of a igloo shape house standing up to a tornado.
    If it can , why are they not building this type of house in the usa.

  12. Who made this page

  13. Nice work helped for my school project

  14. you really helped me lean about igloos

  15. You really helped me learn about igloos.Not all websites have as much info that is provided for the reader as you do

  16. SadieBug's_World

    cool helped with my Inuit (eskimos though they perfer Inuit) school project

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