Help Build Science Skills: Sorting Machine

The sorting machine makes learning classification skills fun. Younger children will learn how to discriminate between small shapes.

What this activity will develop:
Science and thinking skills

What you'll need:
• Four boxes (same size)
• Utility knife
• Tools for making holes (nails, pen, knitting needle, compass, large sewing needle)
• Tape
• Dry beans
• Uncooked rice
• Salt

Setting up:
Mark A, B and C on three boxes. Cut holes in the bottom of box A that are big enough for the dried beans to pass through.

Poke holes in the bottom of box B large enough for a rice grain to pass through.

Poke holes large enough for a salt grain to pass through in the bottom of box C.

Stack the boxes on top of each other: box A on top, B in the middle, and C on the bottom. Place the fourth box below box C. Tape the boxes together.

What to do:
Put the beans, rice and salt in box A. Shake the boxes gently until all of the materials have disappeared.

Remove the tape, and check the boxes to see where the materials ended up.

Try sorting other materials: coarse sand and gravel, old buttons, marbles of different sizes, coins, birdseed, breakfast cereals or popped and unpopped corn kernels. Size the holes in the boxes accordingly.

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