Students Engineer Projects from Recycled Products

From an automatic dog feeder to a quick shoe dryer.


As part of the science curriculum, Rita Thurston, the eighth grade students at the School of St. Mary recently completed an Engineering Design Project over the course of several weeks.

The students were challenged to recycle, reuse, and re-engineer everyday materials into a new invention, working either individually or with a partner. Their task was to follow the engineering design process to create a new invention made from at least two different recycled materials.

During the project, students learned the differences between the design process used by engineers and the scientific method used by scientists. Examples of recycled materials students used in their projects included fabric, paper, plastic bottles, beverage cans, wood, cardboard rolls, clamps and wheels.

Some of the innovative products invented by the students included an automatic dog feeder and a catapult, both made out of wood and recycled parts; a smart phone holder for recharging phones made out of an empty shampoo bottle; a uniform batter dispenser made with a plastic water bottle; a safety conscious motorcycle shirt made using recycled reflectors and LED lights; a greenhouse made from a recycled computer tower, and a quick shoe dryer which used a discarded hair dryer motor.

Students were required to write a formal report about the process of designing, building, testing and redesigning their product.  In addition, students presented their projects to fellow students using a poster board, slide presentation or video as a visual aid.


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