Curious

How are pencils made?

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You're probably wondering how that skinny stick of graphite gets into the wood of the pencil. Pencils are usually made with machines. Here's how the California Cedar Products Company makes theirs.

Pencils start with blocks of wood that are cut down into thin slats. The slats go through a "Groover machine" which carves many long grooves down the length of the slats. The clay and graphite sticks (which are the pencil parts that do the actual writing) are placed into those grooves.

Now it's time to make a sandwich! Another grooved slat is placed on top of the slat that holds the graphite and clay core. The pieces are held together by glue. After the glue dries, machines further shape the sandwich into individual pencils. They are painted and then sent to a "tipping" machine. The tipping machine crimps a metal ring and an eraser to the end of each pencil. After that, they're ready to be boxed, shipped, and sharpened.

by Brian Griffin (Whyzz writer)

Exploration

Pencil vs. Pen

Think about the differences between pencils and pens? Why do some people like pencils while other people like to write with pens? When you're just learning to write, is it better to have a pencil that will let you erase mistakes or a pen that is permanent? Why do you think grown-ups use pens to sign checks? Why do you think carpenters prefer to use pencils? Whichever you choose to use, pens and pencils are both great ways to write and practice writing!