Focus On: Pencil Drop Activity

Today, I invited my grade 9 / 10 Locally Developed English class to participate in an activity called “Pencil Drop”, which I have modified slightly.

I used the following materials: about 4 feet of yarn, masking tape, a pen (or pencil) and a bottle with a smallish mouth, about the size of an old-school Coke bottle.

  1. Two students volunteer to stand facing each other about 3 or 4 feet apart.
  2. Attach the pen/pencil to the middle of the piece of string, either by tying it or by taping it. (This time, I taped it.)
  3. Use pieces of masking tape to attach the ends of the tape to the students’ shirts. (NOTE: Have the students attach the tape to their own shirt, as opposed to the teacher doing it.)
  4. Place the bottle about halfway between the two students.
  5. Their challenge is to now lower the pen/pencil into the bottle without using their hands.
  6. VARIATION: The two students volunteer to be blindfolded and try again.
  7. You can then connect this activity to your curriculum, if you so choose: our class is discussing the qualities of a hero and one of those qualities is “Feats”, so I wanted to make the connection that this activity required the students to work together, to give instructions to each other, to trust each other and to protect each other — all of which they did with aplomb.

Here is a PDF of the activity from a web site that includes potential discussion questions.

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