Gieant Sieve Sorter

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This Exploratorium activity explores size and scale. Through four levels of screen sizes, learners can sort out objects of different sizes. Sorting based on size is important to many disciplines like chemistry, nanotechnology, archaeology, paleontology, and many more.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Clear tennis-ball container
  • 1/4-inch (6.35 millimeter) and 1/2-in (12.70 mm) mesh wire cloth, plus 1-inch (25.4mm) mesh chicken wire, cut into 4-inch squares (these three kinds of screens are standard sizes and should be available at most hardware stores)
  • Sharp knife
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters (may not be necessary)
  • Duct tape (2-in width)
  • Several objects of four different sizes ranging from 1/8 to 2 inches (3 mm to 50 mm)—e.g., peppercorns, garbanzo beans, filberts, and walnuts


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access