If you’re using a pencil right now, put it down. Take a close look at it. What are its parts? How does it work? If it’s a mechanical pencil, this is a bit more complicated. Now, imagine you had to reconstruct your mechanical pencil out of 22 oddly-shaped (and small) pieces. What would you do?
That’s the idea behind the Varacil mechanical pencil from Japan which challenges buyers to assemble their new pencil by shipping to them in nearly two dozen pieces. It’s just $10 and could be a fun way to get students thinking about how things work.
As DIY and ‘making’ things becomes a hot trend in 2013, this pencil might be the perfect way to kick off your school year. Hand out some of these pencils to groups of students (project-based learning ahoy!), ask them to pop the pieces out of the plastic, and then tell them to figure out what it is. Don’t even tell them it’s a mechanical pencil. Just ask them to put their heads together and ‘solve the puzzle.’ It’d be an incredible site and challenging task to boot. Best of all, they get a pencil as a prize!