When you pick up a pencil, it weighs almost nothing. But our friend Nya W. asked, how big is the world’s biggest pencil? (and drew this great picture for us!) It turns out 2 pencils have set records, and they could both crush your hand. The world’s *longest* pencil stretched 3,582 feet, or 2/3 of a mile. It was as skinny as a real pencil, just really, really long. The* biggest* pencil that looks like a bigger real one was shorter, but at 76 feet long it weighed 18,000 pounds! The eraser by itself was 2 1/2 feet long, and the lead — the dark middle part that marks the paper — was 10 inches across and weighed 4,500 pounds by itself. You might want to stick with the pencils in your desk.

*Wee ones: *Find a pencil (or pen or crayon) and hold it against your longest finger so they start at the same spot at one end. Which one is longer?

*Little kids:* If you line up 7 pencils in a row, which number pencil is exactly in the middle? *Bonus:** *If you use up 1 foot of that 1,509-foot pencil by drawing, now how long is it? See if you can remember the whole number and subtract 1!

*Big kids:* The eraser made up 2 1/2 feet of that giant 76-foot pencil. How long was the rest of it? (*Hint if needed:* What if the eraser were just 2 feet long?) *Bonus:* If you write your name in letters half as tall as that 76-foot pencil, how tall are those letters?

*The sky’s the limit:* If a kid can pick up 50 pounds, how many kids would it take to pick up that 18,000-pound pencil? (*Hint if needed:* What if each kid could pick up 100 pounds?)

Answers:

*Wee ones: *Either the pencil or your finger could be longer.

*Little kids:* The 4th pencil. There are 3 pencils on either side of it. *Bonus:* 1,508 feet.

*Big kids:* 73 1/2 feet. *Bonus:* 38 feet — still probably taller than your home!

*The sky’s the limit:* 360 kids. If each could pick up 100 pounds, you’d need just 180 kids, but if each can lift only half of that, you’ll need twice as many people.