Pencil Experiment

I decided last Monday morning to put out 12 new pencils in the pencil jar and monitor their progress. You can see the results here: <>

I noticed that if I put a mixture of pencils out in the morning, those left at the end of the day tended to be the shortest ones. And yet, on not one day was a child idle due to lack of a pencil. A long pencil is not required for even 40 minutes’ worth of straight writing workshop, so today, on Friday, an insight popped into my head as I was looking at yet another pencil I’d found outside. This one had some nice length to it. Why not break it in half? I did. I sharpened the newly broken piece. I looked at my desk where I’d set the pencils. Two pencils.

Suddenly, the price of pencils changed from 98 cents per dozen to 49 cents per dozen — a fifty percent decrease! Pencils cease to be the classroom management issue they’ve been in the past. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for little surprises, and for making a pencil predicament into a fun experiment.


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

One Response to Pencil Experiment

  1. strangenewteacher says:

    Neat experiment. I have found that new pencils with erasers are very enticing to students. Some will take one even if they don’t need it in class, and you can put money down that they won’t return them at the end of class.
    I like to put out those little golf pencils (the short ones that cramp up your hand) or chewed up pencils. A few teeth marks on a pencil will magically remind students of that pencil hidden away in their backpack.

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