The class, Textiles 11, taught by Ms. Jacqueline Collins, is turning trash and micro:bits into fashion. Collins has been including a “trashion” (trash and fashion) project in the course for years, but with support from others, she has included micro:bits in the project this year. Micro:bits is a digital tool which allows students to experiment with coding. Students in Textiles 11 are learning how to code these micro:bits and use them in their fashion items to add a level of uniqueness.

Through this project, students are learning how to reuse and repurpose trash instead of simply throwing it away. Collins thinks that the project is important to bring awareness to students about the garbage in our society. “This project absolutely highlights their awareness of garbage. What we consider garbage, to them becomes very valuable,” said Collins. “Garbage is a valuable commodity. We should not be trashing all that we do. So, I really feel that the students gain a little bit of that awareness from this.”

A suit jacket made out of newspapers by a student.

Sorta Lee, a grade 10 student currently taking Textiles 11, says she also thinks it’s a good experience for students to have. “I think it’s pretty meaningful because in this era, we kind of just throw away our trash and it’s not our problem anymore. We get to remake it into something that looks nice,” said Lee.

Ms. Susan Henderson, Riverside’s librarian, approached Collins with the idea first; Collins then gained support from others in the district and Mr. Bryan Gee, a teacher at Riverside. “Susan pulled in an expert in the district who’s assigned to coding and they came in and supported it; Gee with his digital leadership program also came in and supported the project,” said Collins.

The role of the micro:bits, taking forms such as LED lights, is to make the trash-turned-fashion items a bit more appealing and eye-catching. The students can program the micro:bits to make patterns with lights, make letters and signs, and much more. There is a lot of variety in what one can do with micro:bits, which is why it may be difficult for first-timers. “I’ve done coding before, but not on a micro:bits, so some areas I could figure out myself, but coding the LED lights and making patterns is a little bit challenging,” said Lee.

Charlee Boyd with her creation.

Lee designed a see-through raincoat with an overall part which is coded with micro:bits to looks like a candy cane. “The lights will be swirling down to look like a real candy cane. I think it’s going to be pretty cute,” said Lee.

Another grade 11 student in Textiles 11, Charlee Boyd, made a hat out of old disks. “I got a cardboard box at home and cut it all out into individual pieces then hot-glued the pieces together. After that, I saw some disks in the art class, so I took them and put them on the hat,” said Boyd.

In January, they will have a fashion show within their class; they’ll be parading down the front steps in the foyer to showcase their work. Collins, along with collaboration from other teachers, has turned the regular trashion project into something new with these micro:bits. It offers students a chance to not only learn about the importance of repurposing garbage, but also how to code.