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Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

How Can You Reduce Your Impact on the Environment?

Subject Area

Arts Education




Students will use what they have learned about recycling and reusing to complete this STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) activity. Students will use recycled items to create something new.   

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Science (2015) Grade(s): KG


    Identify and plan possible solutions (e.g., reducing, reusing, recycling) to lessen the human impact on the local environment.*

    Unpacked Content



    • Identify
    • Plan
    • Solution
    • Human impact
    • Local
    • Environment
    • Reduce
    • Reuse
    • Recycle
    • Causes
    • Create
    • Ask
    • Imagine
    • Improve


    Students know:
    • Human impact can have both positive and negative impact on the environment.
    • We can create possible solutions to reduce the negative impacts on the environment.


    Students are able to:
    • Identify possible solutions to lessen human impact on the environment.
    • Plan possible solutions to lessen human impact on the environment.


    Students understand that:
    • Human impact has a positive and negative effect on the local environment.
    • There are solutions that can lessen the negative impacts on a local environment.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Cause and Effect
    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): KG - Visual Arts


    Engage in self-directed exploration and imaginative play with art materials.

    Unpacked Content



    • Art
    • Artwork
    • Collaboratively
    • Collage
    • Cool colors
    • Warm colors
    • Elements of Art
      • Color
      • Line
      • Shape
    • Imaginative play
    • Play
    • Portfolio
    • Primary colors
    • Principles of design
      • Pattern
    • Printmaking

    Essential Questions

    EU: Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
    EQ: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? What factors prevent or encourage people to take creative risks? How does collaboration expand the creative process?

    Skills Examples

    • Create two-dimensional artworks using finger painting, watercolors, paper collage, and rubbings.
    • Create three-dimensional artworks using techniques such as rolling, folding, cutting, molding, pinching, and pulling clay.
    • Work with a partner to create works of art.
    • Working in small groups, use recycled materials to create artworks.
    • Explore the books Why is Blue Dog Blue? by G. Rodrigue and My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss to understand color meanings and moods.
    • Read the book Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman to explore different styles of line.
    • Safely use and share scissors, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, paints, paintbrushes, and clay.
    • Use symbols to help tell a personal or make-believe story.
    • Manipulate art media to create textures and patterns.
    • Identify and use organic and geometric shapes to create works of art.
    • Show respect for self and others while making and viewing art.
    • Use the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) to create a free-style painting while singing the names of the colors.
    • Use patterns in designing colored stripes on the shirt of a person you know.
    • Collect found objects such as paper tubes, forks, and pieces of cardboard. Press them in shallow tempera paint, and stamp them on paper to show printmaking.
    • Create a T-chart that separates cool (blue, green, and purple) and warm (red, yellow, and orange) colors in different columns. Use the symbols of water waves for the cool column header and the sun for the warm column header.
    • Work with a partner to find colors, lines, and shapes in art and tell each other what you see.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will: 

    • identify possible solutions to lessen the human impact on the local environment.
    • identify potential human impacts on the local environment.
    • create a new object from recycled materials. 

    Activity Details

    If possible, take the students outside to pick up trash.

    1. Read The Lorax by Dr.Seuss. 
    2. Gather items that can be recycled, reused, and reduced. Also, bring three hula-hoops if you have them. You will also need the recycle, reuse, and reduce labels
    3. Use the labels to label each hoop or sorting area.
    4. Lead students in a sorting activity of the items (water bottles, paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, broken crayons, soda cans, used tissues, etc). After placing each item in the correct hoop, talk about how it can be recycled, reused, or reduced. 
    5. Discuss how recycling and reusing items make a positive impact on the environment.
    6. Ask students how they would feel if we did not recycle and there was trash everywhere.
    7. Students will use items in the reuse and recycle circles to create something new.
    8. Students should use their imagination to create something new. Example, they make take a tissue box and make a car or a robot. 
    9. Students will share with the class what they created.
    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Students will complete self-assessment rubric


    Variation Tips

    Students can create an advertisement for their new product or item. Students can write (or video themselves) about how their creation reduces their human impact on the Earth.

    BrainPOP Jr. video-



    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Recycled materials- water bottles, cardboard, tissue boxes, paper towel rolls, applesauce pouch tops, broken crayons, buttons, straws, soda cans, newspapers, and egg cartons. Recycle, reuse, and reduce labels. 

    The Lorax read aloud on

    You will need three hula hoops or three circles to sort items into Reduce, Reuse, Recycle groups.

    Labels for the three hula hoops