Turning Old Into New

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School:  McKim Elementary

The Earth Project is a chance for students to take action combing and/or building on all the topics discussed in Beyond Recycling. As a culminating activity, this project is creative, fun, and useful. Needle work has been a theme for the grade 5/6s this year with their art projects so Beyond Recycling joined in for this year’s Earth Project. We combined the major theme of waste with the class theme of needle work and turned old t-shirts into new re-useable bags.

Students brought old shirts from home, or used ones collected from local thrift stores as their base. They started by cutting the shape: removing the sleeves, making the neck hole bigger and cutting the bottom shorter if necessary. Then, all there was left to do is stitch the bottom together – which is easier said then done, and this project took several blocks to complete.

As hoped, this was a successful culminating project. Some students ended with “genius” creations, showing off their “next level skills”. The class reduced the t-shirt waste going to the landfill, reduced the need for extracting more raw materials for new bags (plastic or fabric), and reused/repurposed everyday items.