Sorting Material into Groups

Dhristi JEE 2022-24

Introduction to Sorting Materials into Groups

Daily, we come across so many examples that are unorganized and randomly placed out there. However, they need to be organized in order to work well. If we talk about how to organize or sort them, then we should know that everything can be sorted out properly. What you need to do is just to divide them into groups and then, start sorting.

For example, if you are having a lot of information or things that are different on the basis of importance, then you should start sorting it out accordingly. Keep the most important things in one group, the lesser ones in another group and you can go for keeping the least important things in some other group.

When we look around us, we find ourselves surrounded by a number of objects having different shapes, colors, textures, properties, and uses. Some of these objects are made from a number of different materials, while some are made using the same material. For eg, Both desks and chairs are made from wood while bottles and dustbins are made from plastic. A plastic bottle is used to store water whereas a dustbin is used to collect waste materials. The same material can be used to make different types of objects. For example, glass can be used to make bulbs, screens, bowls, window panes, etc. The same object can be made of different kinds of materials. For example, a table is made of plastic, wood, or iron. So, in order to classify the material as per their usage, Sorting Material into groups is necessary.

In this article, you are basically going to learn how you can sort out different things on the basis of different criteria such as its appearance, transparency, solubility, and so on. To have good information about sorting the objects, let's have a look at some important points that are going to help you in this process.

Properties of Materials


Materials can be classified on the basis of their look or appearance, Some materials have a soft glow to them while others are plain and dull looking. Materials that have a soft glow can be classified as Metals like Copper, gold, aluminum, iron, etc. Besides this, some substances can be small, some tall, or even short. There can be differences in their heights or their structure and other appearance that will enable you to sort the items on the basis of external features or appearance only.

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Soluble or Insoluble

The materials that can be dissolved in water are said to be soluble materials. For example, Salt and Sugar can be dissolved in water. Materials that can’t be dissolved in water even after stirring them are said to be insoluble materials. For example, Stones and sand cannot be dissolved in water.

You can go on by trying to dissolve the substances in water; those which are soluble will readily dissolve while the ones that are not soluble will settle down.

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  • Objects or materials which we can see through are said to be transparent objects. Eg: Glass, clear water, and some plastics.

  • Objects or materials through which things can be seen only partially are called Translucent objects. Eg: Butter paper, thin plastic sheets, frosted glass, etc.

  • Objects from which cannot be see-through are termed opaque objects. Eg: Metals, wood, brick, book, wall, clothes, etc.

On the basis of their transparency, they can be easily sorted and after that, they can be used for further purposes and it will be easy for you to distinguish.

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On the Basis of the State of Matter




They have definite shape and volume.

They don’t have a definite shape but a definite volume. They take the shape of a container.

They don’t have a definite shape and volume.

Particles are closely packed.

Particles are not as closely packed as solids.

Particles are loosely packed.

They can't be compressed.

They can be compressed to a small extent.

They are highly compressible.

The above-mentioned table will help you to know about the difference between solid liquid and gas. If you are able to distinguish them then it will be easier for you to use them quickly on the basis of their properties.

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Why Do We Need to Sort Materials Into Groups?

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There are certain reasons that require you to sort the substances on the basis of different features and properties. After knowing about the way by which they can be sorted out, we need to find out about the reason for which sorting of material is necessary.

The Main Purpose of Sorting Materials Into Groups is Listed Below:

  • Storage: In order to allocate suitable containers for the storage of objects, it is necessary to sort objects into solids, liquids, and gasses. Eg: Liquids such as oil and milk can be stored in containers such as a glass tumbler, but gasses such as nitrogen and oxygen cannot be stored in them while vegetables can be stored in cloth bags.

  • Convenience to Store: We try to group objects in such a way that similar objects are kept together in order to make locating them easier. Even in our homes also, we store spices together in the kitchen, and washing products are stored in bathrooms.

  • Manufacturing: Sorting of material can be helpful in the manufacturing process. If we want to manufacture bottles to store liquids, we use materials such as glass, plastic, or metal and not cloth or leaves because they will not retain the liquid. Similarly, while manufacturing a table, we can use wood or plastic, and not glass.

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  • Convenience to Study: We group objects so that it becomes easy for us to study their features. Sorting is also done on the basis of their physical and chemical properties. To get more insight into the topic, we suggest referring to NCERT solutions.



Learning about sorting materials in a group can help students in real life for the long term. Students can practice the same to have a sorted life.

FAQs on Sorting Material into Groups

1. What is sorting in science?

There are certain similarities between two or more objects. It is not like all the objects will have the same similarities but some of the properties will be the same and these properties are used for the process of sorting. In science, the sorting process will help you to distinguish between certain objects on the basis of their similarities. Whereas when we talk about the classification of the objects, it involves grouping the objects into predetermined groups mentioned earlier in this article. Grouping of the objects involves systematic knowledge of the things. Their systematic knowledge or the way in which they should be sorted are determined here. You can download the PDF file of this lesson from Vedantu website.

2. What is the similarity between salt and sand?

If we talk about salt and sand, in some cases they are sorted into the same group, that is on the basis of their state and mass, they are classified as the same.  The mass of both sand and salt is the same. The same quantity of salt and sand that we take, will provide us with the same amount of mass. The second point is that both salt and sand have the same state. Both are in the solid state and can be touched or felt easily. If we are sorting the things or substances for a particular purpose, then both salt and sand are placed in the same group on the basis of their state and mass.

3. Name three liquids that are transparent.

Transparency is that property by which you can easily see through any substance, that is any substance that will allow the light to pass through them are termed as transparent. Those who allow a little amount of light to pass through them are known as translucent, while those substances who do not allow light to pass through them are termed opaque. In liquids, the liquids that will allow light to pass through them and you can clearly see through them are termed as transparent liquids. There are a number of transparent liquids. Three of these transparent liquids are water, alcohol, benzene.

4. What is the grouping of materials?

Materials can be collected together and assorted in particular groups. These groups are designed on the basis of some similar properties and some differences in the properties. Mainly objects are grouped on the basis of certain properties like lustre, hardness, transposability, attraction towards a magnet, physical appearance, conductivity towards electricity, conduction of heat and so on.  On these physical properties, the matter can easily be classified and sorted in the form of groups. To sort them into different groupings is what we call a grouping process.

5. Why should we sort materials?

For the proper functioning of certain things, it is very necessary to sort or separate different materials. This will help you to understand what substance is needed. It will also help you to dispose of the material because only if you are aware of the properties and usefulness of the particular matter, then you can decide whether you should keep the substance or just dispose of it off. Some substances are degradable \, while some are not degradable. Sorting will enable you to understand the process you should follow for disposing of the waste.