Format: engineering challenge, group work

Length: 40–45 minutes

Requirements: Journey of Waste and Sort or West Van Tour must be done prior to this activity!

Topics/subjects: solid waste economics, natural resources, waste reduction, waste processing, real-world engineering applications

Recommended companion lessons: Journey of Waste and Sort, West Van Tour, Natural Resources  

Summary: The sort system design challenge not only engages students in an activity which practices skills like problem solving, engineering practices, and collaboration, but it also helps students understand the challengers to our waste management systems and the importance of waste reduction and proper recycling. This lesson also engages students in real-world scenarios and highlights STEM careers related to solid waste management. By designing changes to the current recycle sort system in Clark County, while considering constraints to cost, time, available technology, etc., students will appreciate the resource use involved in the recycling process, and the difficulties in maximizing the resource re-capture rate via recycling. The importance of everyone in the community doing their part to recycle right will be emphasized, as well as recycling's place at the bottom of the waste-reduction hierarchy ("reduce, reuse, recycle").  

CCSS, NGSS Alignment Guide Sort System Design Gr. 7–11