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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom



National Noodle Month


"Maccaroni" with various sauces was a fashionable food in late 18th Century Paris. The future American president Thomas Jefferson encountered the pasta in both Paris and northern Italy. He drew a sketch of the pasta and wrote detailed notes on the extrusion process. In 1793 he commissioned American Ambassador to Paris William Short to purchase a machine for making it. Evidently the machine was not suitable, as Jefferson later imported both macaroni and parmesan cheese for use in Monticello. In 1802 Jefferson served a "macaroni pie" at a state dinner.

Use macaroni and other dry pasta as math manipulatives:

  • Construct addition and subtraction facts.
  • Develop multiplication algorithms.
  • Use pasta pieces to create patterns.
  • Sort dry pasta pieces into groups by shape, size, color, etc.
  • Count dry pasta pieces by ones, twos, fives, etc.
  • Create bar graphs to show how many of each kind of pasta students have counted. Glue one of the pasta pieces at the top of each column.
  • List all possible arrangements and combinations of the kinds of dry pasta provided.
  • Use spaghetti to construct models of parallel, intersecting and perpindicular lines.
  • Use dry spaghetti to demonstrate fractions. For example, divide one spaghetti strand into equal pieces to serve four mice. Now divide it again to serve eight, 16, etc.

Bring a variety of cooked pastas for students to sample. Include whole wheat pastas and pastas made with spinach and other vegetables. Provide a simple spaghetti sauce and canned Parmesan cheese for a snack.

  • Students write observations and compare and contrast. Students develop their own criteria for comparison (e.g., texture, shape, flavor, etc.)

Use macaroni and other dry pasta for art projects.

  • Place a handful of pasta in a plastic bag.
  • Add food coloring and a larger amount of rubbing alcohol.
  • Work the bag until all the pasta is colored.
  • Spread on a box lid to dry.
Call It Macaroni
Inclues activities above in printable lesson form.
  • Smart Board Activity: Pasta Poetry (Need help?)Please be patient with us as we learn how to use this new technology.
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    Smart Board Acitivity page
Cleary, Brian P., and Martin Goneau, Macaroni and Rice and Bread by the Slice: What is in the Grains Group? (Food is CATegorical), Millbrook, 2011. (Grades K-3)
What is in the grains group? Popcorn, oatmeal, pasta and much more. Presents examples from the grains group and highlights some of their health benefits. Grains-based foods are printed in color for easy identification.
Dordick, Barry, Macaroni on the Moon, iUniverse, 2003. (Grades 4-6)
Illustrated collection of humorous poems.
Ohanesian, Diane C., Macaroni Math, McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Hands-on activity book shows how to use noodles in simple activities that build early math skills like number recognition, shape recognition, counting, measuring, estimating and telling time.
Watt, Fiona, and Kim Lane, and Howard Allman, Pasta & Pizza for Beginners (Usborne Cooking School), EDC, 2003.
Pasta and pizza book contains step-by-step illustrations which make the recipe very easy to follow.