I think we can all agree that pasta has to go down in the books as an all time favorite food of kids. For this reason, we decided to go all in to explore the world of pasta/noodles in the Grasshopper room. Our exploration began with a discussion of where pasta comes from and how it is made. Many non-fiction books were read including one called, “A Visit to the Pasta Factory” where the students could see the process of pasta being made from wheat, to flour, to dough. Various shapes of pasta were formed, dried, boxed and shipped to the store. We also read many fictional tales of pasta such as, “Strega Nona,” “Noodle Mania” and “Noodle Man.”
Each child was asked to bring in a box of their favorite pasta. We made a “real graph” using our favorites and then combined each one to make a big bowl of Friendship Pasta! I think all of the kids agreed it was the best tasting pasta they had ever had!
Besides graphing our pasta, many math activities were incorporated into our noodle unit. We used pasta to make patterns of different colors and shapes. We sorted pasta by color and shape and counted pasta into bowls with specific amounts indicated.
Art with pasta was also very fun! The kids used many different kinds of colored pasta to create a pasta picture. These noodle pictures took a lot of creative thinking and manipulating of the noodles to bring to life the artists’ vision. Some of the wonderful pasta art pictures included a castle, garden, mermaid, skateboard, t-rex, and the sky at night. Look for some the these masterpieces at the Art Show for sure!
Our culminating activity for the pasta unit was making fresh pasta with Judy. We headed to the kitchen, put on our aprons and got to work. Judy began with the basic ingredients (flour and egg) and showed us how these are gently mixed together until a dough is formed. Each of us was given some dough to knead - this took some serious hand muscles! The kids each had a turn to roll the dough through a pasta machine to make it thinner and thinner. Winding the crank took some more muscle! The choice of fettuccine or spaghetti was offered to the kids, and with a few more cranks of the machine out came the pasta! We were all delighted to take part in this process from beginning to end and thank Judy for her culinary expertise!