Build a Recycling-Sorting Machine
- Understand that magnets exert forces even when they are not in contact with each other
- Understand the factors that affect the strength of magnetic forces
- Evaluate competing design solutions using the same criteria
a recycling sorting machine. A plastic cup holds paper clips and shreds of paper. A vertical cardboard tube supports a downward carboard ramp. The ramp feeds into a plastic bottle lined with magnets, which feeds into a plastic cup.
In this lesson plan, your students will build their own recycling sorting machines that use various methods, like magnets or puffs of air, to separate shreds of paper from paper clips. This lesson is inspired by the real-world engineering challenge of separating various materials, like paper, plastic, and metals, that get combined in single-stream recycling programs.
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
Disclaimer: Science Buddies participates in affiliate programs with Home Science Tools, Amazon.com, Carolina Biological, and Jameco Electronics. Proceeds from the affiliate programs help support Science Buddies, a 501(c)(3) public charity, and keep our resources free for everyone. Our top priority is student learning. If you have any comments (positive or negative) related to purchases you've made for science projects from recommendations on our site, please let us know. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Area of Science
Forces, magnetism, engineering design
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
Explore Our Science Videos
Stretchy Balloons! Fun STEM Activity
BlueBot 4-in-1 Robotics Kit
Make a Water Strider - STEM Activity