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The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)


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


Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Projects

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.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.3-5 Explain different strategies and approaches students and others could take in working alone and together to address local, regional, and global problems, and predict possible results of their actions.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 2 - Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
      • VA:Cr2.1.1a Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.
      • VA:Cr2.3.2a Repurpose objects to make something new.
  • Related Resources


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