At the ADL Middle School in Essex Junction, igloo construction is well under way.
"Making an igloo is tough, challenging and fun," said Logan Williams, a sixth-grader.
The army of sixth-graders spent Wednesday working together to craft the snowy structures in what's become an annual tradition in the schoolyard.
"We wanted to have a big mound of snow and then make a big base so it wouldn't collapse on us, and we wanted the wall to be kind of thick," student Grady Corkum explained.
Building and exploring these igloos is certainly designed to be a whole lot of fun for the kids, but teachers say it is also designed to complement what they are already learning in the classroom.
"We can use it as a kickoff for this polar region unit that we study. We start looking at the North Pole and countries in the South Pole as well," said Beth Kinney, a sixth-grade humanities teacher at ADL.
Kinney says the activity emphasizes critical thinking and creativity that starts long before the kids suit up and grab their shovels.
"Kids start two weeks ago designing flags, coming up with themes, looking at the big picture of what they're hoping to accomplish," Kinney said.
These young engineers and builders work on randomly assigned teams to bring their designs to life-- a move that's designed to get them engaged outside their comfort zones.
"I learned that it's all about teamwork and about getting to know people and just about working together," student Syd Frolick said.
In the end these teams are judged based on how well their plans are executed and meet a number of criteria, including getting everyone involved inside!
Reporter Keith McGilvery: Any advice to someone trying to fit into an igloo?
Logan Williams: Try and put the larger people in first if you have more than one person or people trying to get in.
Getting the larger people out first was also key.
Many of the groups managed to get six people inside their igloos.