I’ve had my students do a science experiment to determine which styles of homes — traditional U.S. houses or dwellings that are typically built in their native countries — do a better job of keeping homes cool. Usually, I get Popsicle sticks for the American homes, and then collect as many of the native materials that would be used in their native countries for home construction — bamboo, clay, etc.

Students then construct small models of their choice — native or American design. We put a thermometer inside of each, and leave them outside in the sun all day. At the end of the day, we check to see what the temperature is inside. It’s almost always a lot hotter in the U.S. models.

There are tons of opportunities for English language development in this activity, of course.

I was reminded of it in seeing an article titled From Ancient Air Conditioners to Contemporary Passive Homes. I may modify some of it to include the next time I do this lesson.