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Right now you are probably using a pencil to do your school work. But do you know where the pencil came from, or how it is made? Did you know that the Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key was first written in pencil? And that a good sized tree can yield enough wood to make nearly 300,000 pencils. Now you have the chance to find out all about the pencil! Then you too, will have the "Write Stuff!"
Begin this lesson by having the students discuss the introduction provided on the students page. Hey, look at your pencil. Yes, that very one you may be holding in your hand. Ever wonder it came from? Who made it? How they made it? Or how it got to you? To find out more about that pencil you will use several resources: the Internet, maps, reference materials and your own creativity.
Distribute this sheet to the students so they can search the following Web sites for research. Their task is to discover one thing about pencils that might stump the rest of the class.
No. 339 Thoreau's Pencils by John H. Lienhard
How was the famous philosopher, Henry David Throeau related to the development of pencils? Access this link to find out.
Access this site to read about the history of the manufacturing of pencils.
Anatomy of A Pencil
Access this link to see the different parts of a pencil.
How A Cedar Pencil is Made
Accesss this site to see how a cedar pencil is made.
The World Almanac for Kids
This site features an almanac that shows the population of cities.
[NOTE: have available the necessary supplies that this lesson will call for: pencils, post it notes, and/or pins.]
Ask the students if they ever thought it would take so many people to make a pencil? Tell the students that the pencil in their hand sure makes it easier to write and keep track of things and do their math! Just think a minute – someone had to invent it and figure out what resources to use. Then, they had to plan how to produce your pencil.