Investigating Materials 5:

How do materials help us in our classroom?

2. Draw the pencil

Individual 15 Mins Notebook

Letter from the Engineer

As you work on the drawing of a pencil, you’ll need to think like both a scientist and an engineer. You’ll need to make careful observations about the pencil and record your observations in the drawing. Both scientists and engineers do this. Also, use notes and arrows to explain how the different materials allow a pencil to work well. This is something an engineer would do. For example, why does the pencil have a part that is wood? What problem does the wood solve? What good does it do? How does wood help the pencil to work better? What if a pencil didn’t have a wooden part at all? Is there a different material you could use instead of wood that might work just as well?

Hand out pencils as needed and have students open their notebooks to the page titled “My Observations of Objects and Materials” Remind them to observe first and then draw carefully.

Ask questions that might help students think about the relationship between the different parts of the pencil, the materials they are made of, and how the pencil works. For example,

  • What parts are you drawing?
  • Why do you think wood is a good material for the body of the pencil?
  • How will your pen pal know what an “eraser” is?
  • If we switched the wood and the rubber, would the pencil still work? Why not?
  • Why is the pencil painted?
  • Why does it say “No. 2”?

Drawing skills will be quite variable. Look for evidence that each student has identified some important parts and materials, that they relate specific properties of the materials with their usefulness, and that they are taking the exercise seriously.