An Exploration of Natural Resources
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.