Harmless Holder (Student Instruction)

Students learn product and process design as they create a beverage can holder that won’t harm wildlife or pollute but that is sturdy and easy to carry.



  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Duct tape
  • String
  • 4 long wooden pieces, like paint stirrers, rulers, chop sticks or wooden dowels
  • 6 rubber bands
  • Cans or bottles to test your holder. They don’t have to be beverages like soda or seltzer – they could be soup, bean or other types of cans.


  1. Identify the Problem
    • One of the biggest problems with the traditional plastic can holder is that it is dangerous to wildlife. How can you design and build a harmless holder
    • Here are the Your holder must be:
      • Sturdy
      • Easy to carry
      • Harmless to wildlife
      • It must have no – or low – impact on the environment.
  2. Brainstorm Designs
    • Think about why people might need a holder. Are they carrying a lot of different cans or bottles?
    • Do you have to make a carrier that holds 6 cans – maybe you want to design yours to hold more…or to hold less?
    • What are some different ways you can arrange the cans in your holder?
  3. Build Your Holder
    • As you build, play with different materials to keep your cans in place.
    • How can you design a holder that keeps your cans or bottles together and lets you easily remove one can at a time?
    • Your holder needs to be easy to carry too. What handle will work best with your design?
  4. Test, Improve and Redesign
    • When you’re done building your holder, it’s time test it out! Lift your carrier carefully, just a few inches above your table or desk. Ask yourself:
      • Do the cans stay in place when you pick it up and move it?
      • If your holder is bending or twisting, how can you reinforce your design?
    • Think about what impact your carrier would have on wildlife.
      • Are some of your materials better for the environment than others?
      • If you could choose different materials, what would you pick?
    • Make changes and try again!
  5. Share Your Results with a teacher, parent/guardian, or DiscoverE
    • Share photos or a video of your Harmless Holder!
    • Send to DiscoverE at social@DiscoverE.org or post on Instagram/Twitter using the hashtag #DiscoverEChallenge


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