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Blog

Tsunami Toy Project—Trash to Treasure!

Julie Daubenmire

How can you make toys from trash?

While learning about the 2004 Thailand tsunami and studying the devastation it caused, students in Mrs. Foutz’s classroom, in the Minerva Local School District, were given a challenge about the reconstruction and rebuilding that often happens after natural disasters:

How can we as volunteers utilize what is left behind from destruction, to construct toys in such a way that we consider:
• The interest of children
• The durability of toys
• The creativity of the toys

Mrs. Foutz used the project as problem-based learning to address math and science standards. She and the students brought in bags of toys from home that would normally be thrown away, and the seventh grade students got to work, building toys from the “trash” brought in. Once the toys were done, second-grade students in Ms. Syverson’s class used a rubric to select a favorite.

A sampling of the "trash" brought in to use for building toys.

A sampling of the "trash" brought in to use for building toys.

Students working on building toys out of items that normally would be thrown away.

Students working on building toys out of items that normally would be thrown away.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a hallmark of the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium as it encourages students to conduct research and apply knowledge to solve problems. This is a great example of a PBL project that spans both grade levels (including seventh and second grade collaboration), and curriculum content including current events, seventh-grade science standards and second-grade math standards.

About the Author

Becky Miller is a curriculum team leader at Minerva Local School District, where the mission is “every child, every minute, every day.” To learn more about the great things going on at Minerva Local School District, visit www.mlsd.sparcc.org.