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Home /  Courses And Programs / Introduction to Trash to Treasures: Upcycling at its Best

During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have moved this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy workshops online. These online STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshops for students entering 4th-12th grade will be conducted through virtual class meetings using the Zoom conferencing system and the learning platform Canvas.

Turn Trash into Treasures with Upcycling


We all know it’s important to recycle to slow the flow of trash into overstuffed landfills. Now discover how to put a creative spin on recycling by “upcycling” – turning trash into treasures such as art pieces or useful objects.

We will explore how trash can be transformed using different techniques and art mediums. But first students will
consider how much waste they produce and discuss the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling in their daily lives. They will learn the difference between recycling and upcycling and then brainstorm ways to create artistic, useful and valuable products from discarded materials. As they work on individual and group upcycling projects, students will be encouraged to take creative risks and cultivate imagination, persistence and collaboration. The class will help students understand that they have an important role to play in protecting our planet.

What You Will Learn

  • Define recycling and upcycling and create a Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences
  • Evaluate how much waste they produce and look at the impact of that waste on the environment
  • Develop a strong understanding of the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling and repurposing trash
  • Discover ways to salvage materials and experiment with different types of materials
  • Create valuable new products and then share their discoveries by advertising their creations

Note: During the first week of Junior Academy, this class is shortened to four days because of the Fourth of July holiday.

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Course Number: ART-90059
Credit: 0.00 unit(s)