Upcycle with 3Doodler

Time Required: Two 45-60 minute session
Skill Level: Intermediate
Recommended Grades: 3rd to 5th

In this activity, students will work together to design and create upcycled products using objects collected at home and in school. Thinking creatively and fluently, students will design a new product with a specific purpose(s) composed of 1-3 objects and enhanced by the 3Doodler. *This activity is based on the Guilford Test, which tests creativity in brainstorming alternative uses for everyday objects.

Note: Any links outside of the3doodler.com are optional resources. We can’t ensure their upkeep or accuracy.

Lesson Plan


Step 1

Wrap Up

Each group will share their repurposed object(s), explain the purpose, how they improved upon the original object or created an alternate purpose(s), and note any changes they implemented from the Ways to Change an Object's Design or Purpose List. Share on Twitter #3DoodlerEDU


Review each group's' prototype and its purpose. Assess each group's presentation and any feedback offered during discussions.

Possible Extensions

Use antiquated items, e.g., typewriters, cassette tapes, slide ruler, etc. Ask students why they think these items are no longer used. Can they think of an alternate use for these objects?


Ways to change an object's function/purpose

merge surfaces with another object

add motion, e.g., wheels, fan, etc.

add light, e.g., circuits with LEDs

add parts that require human generated power, e.g., crank, gears, etc.

physically attach parts

make attachments that are removable

offer optional parts

create a base

use recycled materials

take object apart (if possible)

animate the object (anthropomorphic)

add attachments to make wearable

extend it surface

hollow object (if possible)

bend, roll, twist, stack, rotate, flatten

change texture

cover or wrap object

elevate or lower object

expose its interior

add compartments


  • antiquated - old-fashioned or outdated.

  • prototype - a first model of something from which other forms are developed or copied.

  • upcycle - reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Educational Standards

Common Core

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

In This Lesson

Students will work in small groups to brainstorm, design and create repurposed object.

Common Core

Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.

In This Lesson

Each group must respond to questions to clarify or follow up on information about their product. Students must ask specific and relevant questions about other group's products.

Common Core

Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Record measurement equivalents in a two-column table.

In This Lesson

Solve problems involving measurement

Next Gen Science

Engineering Design Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

In This Lesson

Students will sketch, design and create a repurposed object. Students will consider the shape of the objects used when determining purpose.

Next Gen Science

Engineering Design Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

In This Lesson

Students will brainstorm various possible uses for object(s) based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of this activity's challenge.

CS Teachers

Plan and create a design document to illustrate thoughts, ideas, and stories in a sequential (step-by-step) manner (e.g., story map, storyboard, sequential graphic organizer).

In This Lesson

Students will brainstorm ideas and sketch a design to illustrate their group's thoughts and ideas.

CS Teachers

Decompose (break down) a larger problem into smaller sub-problems with teacher guidance or independently.

In This Lesson

Students will break down the process into brainstorming, designing, building, testing, presenting to group.


Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

In This Lesson

Students will use the 3Doodler to create repurposed objects that may accomplish a purpose.


Exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

In This Lesson

Students will demonstrate willingness and competency within an open-ended task with more than one possible outcome.


Create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

In This Lesson

Students will remix object(s) to create a new object with an alternate or improved usage.


Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

In This Lesson

Students will seek feedback from peers before and during design phase of this project.

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