Elementary School

CCA Highlight: Trash to Treasure

Trash to treasure is a co-curricular activity that engages students in learning how to use recycled materials to create something purposeful and playful. 

In this activity, students are also given the freedom to design, create, and explore while collaborating with others and problem-solving.

“We use recycled materials to make new things and we don’t pollute the environment,” remarks Charlene.

Students were given a common theme, an arcade, around which to focus their planning and designing.  By providing the students with a theme, they were able to communicate and work together towards a common goal of creating games that would typically be part of an arcade.

“I can make something out of trash that people can actually play with," noted one third grader.

The ES Makerspace buzzed with activity during this after school activity as students worked together on their games.  The third and fourth-grade students used recyclable materials as they designed, built, and tested their arcade games.  Cardboard was a favorite material of many. They cut, glued, and taped pieces together and explored different materials to create unique designs for their games.

Students learned how to refine their designs to improve the game. There was an excited energy in the room as designs were tested and retested. 

“I learned to interact with other people to share my ideas,” reflected one student.

Students collaborated to make games such as foosball, a basketball game, and a pinball machine.  After 6 weeks of work, the trash has now turned into a treasure trove of arcade games ready for visitors. Students are so excited to open their arcade to many of their classmates and friends. 

I like that I can make whatever my mind desires,” commented Charlotte.

Trash to treasure has been an engaging and inspiring project for students to be involved in. It has offered lessons in creativity, collaboration, and communication. Most importantly, it has encouraged students to take risks, do make something that will be useful for others and environmentally friendly.