Forests Grow Pencils

Forests Grow Pencils lesson plan

Wood to make pencils is harvested from forests. Discover how the pencils you use have an environmental impact—and why reforested wood is a greener choice.

  • 1.

    Learn about pencil manufacturing. Look closely at any pencil to see its parts: painted wooden barrel, a core of lead or color, and sometimes a metal-crimped eraser. Most pencils today are made from the incense cedar tree. Pencil manufacturers who care about the future of rainforests and the world’s environment now use reforested wood. Learn more about the environmental impact this choice has, and why Crayola Colored Pencils are made with reforested wood.

  • 2.

    To make pencils, trees are cut into grooved slabs. Lines of color are inserted into the grooves. Slabs are sandwiched together and then milled into pencils. An eraser is attached with a ferrule. Find out more details about this fascinating manufacturing process so you can prepare a step-by-step visual presentation.

  • 3.

    Show what you learned. Fold stiff paper into an accordion book that stands up. For each panel, use colorful paper to make cutouts with Crayola Scissors to illustrate one part of the pencil-manufacturing process. Start with a stand of incense cedars.

  • 4.

    Attach your illustrations to each page with a Crayola Glue Stick. Draw cutout details and write explanations for each step with your colored pencils. Use your book to explain the pencil-making process to other students or your family.


  • Students discover the meaning of reforestation and the effect it has on the environment.
  • Children identify the parts of a pencil and delve into the process of pencil manufacturing.
  • Students illustrate their findings graphically in book form.


  • Find out how colored pencils are created when chalk, clay, and wax are mixed with binders and pigments.
  • Discover that pencil lead is really made of non-toxic graphite and clay. Learn more about graphite and why a graphite pencil can conduct electricity.
  • Explore the origins of the word "pencil".
  • Assessment: Students accurately explain what reforestation is, why it is practiced, and understand how human actions modify the physical environment. Students identify the parts of a pencil and correctly depict the steps of the pencil-manufacturing process in an illustrated accordion book.