The Write Stuff

How big is the world’s biggest pencil? Well, 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. Meanwhile, the biggest pencil – that looks like a bigger real one – was only 76 feet long, but since it was the “right” thickness, it weighed 18,000 pounds! The eraser was 2 1/2 feet long, and the lead (the dark middle part) was 10 inches wide and weighed 4,500 pounds by itself. Probably easier to keep using your regular pencils! 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.

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