Houses of the World
Not everyone lives in a wooden house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. In fact, the traditional American home is far from the norm in places like Guatemala where a home is usually one or two rooms with a dirt floor. When reviewing the homes in this section, consider why each home is built the way it is. What is the weather like in the region? What is the economic situation? Learning about homes around the world provides a wonderful glimpse into life in other countries.
Jabu – In North Sumatra, Indonesia, the Batak Toba people live in wooden boat-like structures on stilts called jabu. With a high thatched roof and only one small window on each side, the home stays pretty dark inside, making it a great place to sleep. Families who live in a jabu spend most of their time outside.
Igloo – The igloo is a home built out of blocks of ice and snow and is primarily used by the Inuit people (commonly known as Eskimo) in Canada and parts of Alaska. Even in temperatures well below zero, the igloo can maintain a temperature of 19 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit based solely on the body heat created by the people sleeping inside.
Adobe – The adobe homes of Guatemala are made from mud and straw bricks that are baked in the sun then stacked to create a traditional house with four walls. The structures usually have a tile or tin roof. Homes like these can be found in all parts of Mexico and Central America and are usually painted in an assortment of bright colors.
Turf Houses – Turf homes in Iceland have been built for over 1,000 years as a way of dealing with the difficult and cold climate. First a flat stone foundation is laid out, then a traditional wooden structure with a steep-pitched roof is built. Finally, the house is surrounded and topped with turf (grass with dirt and roots attached) that acts as insulation.
What does your house look like? Perhaps you can have a discussion in your classroom about the difference between your house and the houses in these photos.