The Great Pencil Experiment


More of the pencil slid forward slightly on the desk, almost half but not quite half of its entire length hovering in mid-air.  One more nudge might send it on a downward trajectory.  If successful, that trajectory would come to an end with a glorious clatter as it crashed onto the tile floor, the seven hundred thirty-seventh time it would do so this class period.

Johnny casually tapped on his folder to see if the reverberations from his cadence would be enough, but the experiment proved unsuccessful.  That’s ok,  thought Johnny. It took Thomas Edison a thousand tries to make a light bulb!  Eagerly, he thought through his calculations.  The weight distribution was slightly off.  Clearly, the weight of the pencil required minimal shifting.  Too little and the pencil would remain as immobile as ever.  Too much and the pencil would shoot out into the air guaranteeing a reprimand.  This had to be done with finesse.

Casually, Johnny stretched his arms behind him and then set arms on the desk in from of his red three ring binder.  Slowly, he leaned into it, sliding it slowly toward the pencil eraser.  Two inches away…one inch…half inch…quarter inch…eighth of an inch…contact! The pencil dipped forward and gracefully began its vertical descent to the floor.  Perfectly perpendicular, the pencil point  struck and toppled over hitting the ground twice.   If medals were awarded for pencil dropping, this was surely gold worthy.  The teacher turned, narrowed her eyes, gave him her best death glare, and resumed her lecture. He quickly retrieved his pencil and started planning his next experiment.


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