This video, brief article, and time-lapse video investigates an idea to cool the air that is cheap, simple, and better for the environment than traditional air conditioners.
The architect, Monish Siripurapu, describes his invention that uses porous terracotta pots and water to cool the air, similar to evaporative cooling systems.
This video highlights a real-world example of an architect and engineer solving problems and positively impacting his own community.
The video is a great example of innovations happening in India, while also bringing attention to challenges with sustainable development.
The video and the article use simple enough descriptions to be appropriate for many ages.
Students should be familiar with the terms biomimicry and evaporation.
Science classes can use this resource to highlight natural, low-tech solutions to problems and could extend the lesson by watching the linked video about animals that have engineered air conditioning using their environment.
Physics classes could investigate this phenomenon in more depth by performing an experiment using terra-cotta planters to understand why they are an effective cooling device.
Social studies classes could use this video to discuss the need for affordable alternatives to traditional air conditioners, which use gases that are extremely powerful greenhouse gases.
Similar resources include this video about using heat pumps as a cooling device and this video about an initiative in New York City to reduce the urban heat island effect.
This 2-minute video from the United Nations Environmental Program showcases how an Indian architect is using modern tools and historical technology to produce zero-waste air conditioning. In the years since this video has published, this company has made even more progress. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
ETS1: Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
PS1: Matter and its Interactions
MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.