Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Activity: Historical Heating and Cooling

Grade Level:

Activity Overview: Texas summers may feel like they last forever, but many schools still need heating for the coldest days of the year. Central heating is common in most buildings today, either built into the original design or retrofitted through past renovations. However, central heating was not always an essential part of building design.


Project or print the attached image for your class. The image is a photograph of a segregated classroom in Virginia.

R. R. Moton High School English 9 Class, ca. 1951

This fuel-burning stove is used to heat the classroom rather than a central heating mechanism. The pipe rising from the stove is used to remove fumes, smoke, and other pollutants from the learning environment.

Ask students to look at this photograph and identify what differs from your classroom. Other than segregation, they should be able to identify the stove as the primary heat source. The only source of cooling is the windows.


SS.4.21A, SS.5.24A

R. R. Moton High School English 9 Class; ca. 1951; Civil Action No. 1333; Dorothy E. Davis, et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County et al.; Civil Case Files, 1938 - 12/31/1990; Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives at Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/moton-english-class, July 17, 2019]

Watt Watchers of Texas is a Partner Program of Smart Energy Education.
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