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The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)


K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th


Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Project

Regional Focus


At-Home Upcycle Projects from Climate Superstars

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  • This resource provides instructions for six upcycling projects that will turn discarded items into something useful. 
  • Each project includes step-by-step instructions with pictures. 
Teaching Tips


  • These six projects are easy to do with elementary and middle school students.
  • Making bird feeders or shirt coasters would be an excellent introduction to the concept of upcycling. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Each project requires different materials.
  • Younger students will need assistance with some of the projects.


  • After creating a project together, students could find something in their home or school that is frequently thrown away and find a way to upcycle it as a project.
  • Students could hold an "Upcycled Fair" to display their creations. Students could provide written directions for visitors to take home to complete their own upcycle project.
  • Other resources on this topic include this ClimateScience course on personal actions that fight climate change, this video on recycling challenges, and this video on an e-waste recycling business.
Scientist Notes
Materials like pins, wire cutters, scissors, and adhesives used in these activities can cause injury to students if not properly monitored by an adult. The resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 2 - Organizing and developing ideas.
      • 1.5.2.Cr2a: Through experimentation, build skills and knowledge of materials and tools through various approaches to art making.
      • 1.5.2.Cr2c: Create art that represents natural and constructed environments. Identify and classify uses of everyday objects through drawings, diagrams, sculptures or other visual means including repurposing objects to make something new.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of climate change and humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
  • Computer Science & Design Thinking
    • Design Thinking
      • 8.2.2.ETW.4: Explain how the disposal of or reusing a product affects the local and global environment.
  • Related Resources


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