Behind the Seams: An Exploration of Natural Resources: Virtual Exhibition » An Exploration of Natural Resources

An Exploration of Natural Resources

How do my choices in fashion impact the Natural World?
7th Grade Science
Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. Redoblado, Mrs. Stevenson
Project Description

Most people are unaware of the negative environmental impact the fashion industry can bring, yet they may have closets full of clothes that eventually end up in landfills. Whether those clothes are too small, damaged, or just plain unflattering, 7th-grade science has applied their learning to help reduce our impact by exploring the question: “How do my choices in fashion affect the natural world?”

In our Upcycling Launch Project, students brought in an article of clothing which no longer served its intended purpose. They ranged from socks with holes, shirts that were too small, or clothing that was out of style. Students gave these tired old pieces new life by altering them and giving them a new purpose. Some examples include shirts that were turned into tote bags, socks into chew toys for pets, and jeans into pencil cases. 


As student’s continued to learn about the impact of fashion on the environment, they saw that regardless of its condition, clothing and its production originate from natural resources. Clothing is a necessity and we use it to stay warm, cool, and stylish, but before they get to us at our favorite stores, clothing first develops as raw  materials that need to be cultivated, designed, formed, and transported.


  • Students learned how water and land resources are used for cotton growth. 
  • Formation, distribution, and human consumption of natural resources.
  • How fossil fuels allow for global production chains
  • The differences between natural and synthetic materials and if clothing fibers were physically made from, whether they are natural, like wool or cotton, or synthetic, like polyester. 
  • The biodegradable timeline of natural and synthetic materials.

Students were then tasked to use their knowledge to create a 4-piece Resource Responsible outfit. For the project, students were tasked with creating an outfit under $300 that showed sustainability for cost, environmental, economics, and material.  Using the categories, students then calculated their

Resource Responsible score ranging from a Resource Superhero to a Resource Villain.

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet
Student Reflection
Something that I learned throughout this unit was how important it is to try up-cycling and looking for eco-friendly companies as much as possible. These things would decrease the rate of plastic being in the water and hurting our animals. Before doing this unit, I would just be shopping not thinking about what's happening with our environment. Then I found out how to look for eco-friendly clothing. Looking in the details and what the materials are. Being a resource sidekick, it means that I mostly made good choices with my clothing. Looking online searching for eco-friendly companies helped me. Do research before supporting a company that does harm to our environment. -A.B.
Teacher Reflection
I am most impressed with my students interest in where their clothing comes from. When we started our unit on natural resources, it was very removed from our students lives. By incorporating the final resource responsible shopping 'trip', students finally got it. They took ownership of their learning and applied it to real world situations. They leaned on each other, realizing everyone needs a teacher, when their resource responsible score did not turn out as they would have hoped. Finally, I believe my students will take this knowledge with them into their futures as it relates to their fashion choices.