User login

Milli's Super Sorting Challenge

Source Institutions

    American Chemical Society

Add to listGo to activity
Milli's Super Sorting Challenge

In this activity, learners separate materials based on their special properties to mimic the way recyclables are sorted at recycling centers. Learners observe if various objects are attracted to a magnet, are attracted to a balloon, and float on (or sink in) water. Use this activity to discuss recycling as well as magnetism, static electricity, cohesion and density.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Plastic straw
  • Blunt-end scissors
  • Metric ruler
  • 1 latex balloon
  • 1 square of aluminum foil (5 x 5 centimeters, about 2 inches square)
  • 1 square of paper towel (5x5 centimeters, about 2 inches square)
  • 5 metal paper clips (small ones about 3 centimeters, about 1 inch in length)
  • 1 piece of windowscreening (20 x 30 centimeters, about 8 x 12 inches)
  • Rectangular cake pan (about 32 x 23 x 5 centimeters or 9 x 12 inches)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Office of Community Activities, American Chemical Society


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society,


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists: