​Beverage Container Crusher (Grade 8)

Grade: Eight

Topic: Understanding Structures and Mechanisms - Systems In Action

Scenario: Your School Board is expanding the types of beverage containers that it will be collecting for recycling (including cans, plastic bottles, drinking boxes, milk cartons). Since space to store this material is a major concern, the Board is looking at ways of reducing the volume of this material. The Board has approached you to design and construct a prototype of a device that could be used to safely crush the beverage containers to be recycled. The Board is very environmentally conscious; therefore, the device must use the least energy/force possible to crush the beverage containers. Final proposals, including prototypes, are due at the close of business on ________(date).

Design Specifications: The beverage container crusher:

  • must be constructed of the materials provided
  • must use at least one simple machine and/or hydraulic system
  • must have a mechanical advantage (calculated by student)
  • must be easily assembled and disassembled so that the component parts can be re-used or recycled

Students will be required to submit:

  • prior to the building stage a diagram of their prototype
  • at the end of the design process, a written presentation, including diagrams, outlining their solution to members of the Board’s Environmental Management Team (judges).


  • *Scroll saw, drill press, band saw (if working in an Application Centre)
  • Hand saw (e.g. back saw, hack saw), mitre box, hammer, screwdriver, pliers,
  • Safety goggles
  • Nails, screws, wood (1 cm x 1 cm bass wood, dowelling, wood scraps), craft sticks, clothes pins, string, wire, cardboard, tape, glue (including glue gun), gussets
  • Assorted syringes, plastic tubing, connectors,
  • Assorted pulleys and gears, springs, elastics.