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Pasta (3-5)

9 minutes
Primary subjects: 
Health
Grade: 
3, 4, 5
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About

This lesson includes a discussion of pasta and identification of its nutritional benefits. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to identify the food group that pasta belongs to, and other benefits of pasta. They will be able to explain how pasta is made, identify different kinds of pasta, identify the 2 kinds of grains, as well explain why pasta is good for your body.

Key objectives for students
Expose students to pasta, its nutritional benefits, appearance, and taste.
Identify which food group contains pasta
Discuss the varieties of pasta
Discuss how pasta is made
List one main nutrient in pasta
Secondary subjects
Agriculture Science, Health and Nutrition
Topics
Healthy choices regarding food, Five food groups, Nutritional benefits of healthy food
Skills
Communication skills
Values
Curiosity, Optimism
Methods
Real-World Application
Background information for teachers

The majority of 9-Minute Nutrition Ninja lessons include taste tests of the day’s lesson. We have provided an Allergy Form. Please provide the allergy form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom.

How to serve:

  • Pass out cups with .5 ounce of prepared pasta cooked according to instructions
  • Pass around dried, uncooked pasta for them to touch and feel, not to taste
  • Serve room temperature
  • Ask questions such as “Do you like pasta like this? How about with cheese or a red sauce or both?”, “Would you eat pasta again?”
In Advance

One Week

Please provide a printed copy of the Allergy Form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom. Check your school policies to understand how to handle food allergies and modify tasting activities for students with food sensitivities.

Two days

  • Purchase a bag of pasta (bowtie or tubed pasta are recommended) for cooking
  • Purchase one bag of dried pasta for showing
  • Provide gloves for those handling food
  • Use serving spoons for passing out food
  • Use small cups and forks
Materials needed

Grain

  • 1 bag cooked pasta (bowtie or a tubed pasta are recommended) cooked according to instructions in slightly salted water
  • 1 bag dried pasta for showing
  • Olive oil
  • Small cups and forks
  • Serving spoon for handling food
  • Gloves for those handling food
  • Toss cooked pasta with some olive oil and place .5 ounce in small cups

Visuals

Pasta Handout

Time Exercise Description
9 minutes Discussion
Implementation

DISCUSSION

  • Hello Nutrition Ninjas!
  • Today we are going to talk about pasta!
  • Who here likes pasta?
  • What are your favorite ways to eat pasta? Do you have any favorite sauces or vegetables that you like to eat with pasta?
  • What food group is pasta in? That’s right, pasta is in the grain group.
  • Pasta is made from flour, which is a ground up grain called wheat. To make pasta, flour, water, salt, and sometimes eggs are mixed together to form a dough. This dough is then rolled out with a rolling pin or special machine and then cut or formed into different shapes and sizes.
  • It is eaten all around the world, from China to Italy and every place in between, just in different ways.
  • Most pasta is sold in the store in a dried form, but you can also buy fresh pasta, which is soft pasta that is still doughy and cooks very quickly!
  • Can anybody think of some different types of pasta?
  • Spaghetti, shells, macaroni, and bow ties are just a few of the many kinds.
  • Pasta can be boiled, baked, and even fried. It can be served hot or cold too.
  • Did you know that pasta, especially whole-wheat pasta, is good for you? Do you know why?
  • Pasta is full of fiber and grains that give you a ton of energy and keep you feeling full for a long time!
  • Fiber keeps you healthy because it helps you fight off sickness, keeps you strong, keeps your body clean, and helps you feel full for a long time.
  • Pasta is made with white flour usually but you can now get whole wheat pasta too!
  • There are two different kinds of grain in the grain food group: whole grains and refined grains.
  • Whole grains, like whole grain pasta and brown rice, contain the whole kernel of the grain. Refined grains, like white rice, are grains that have been shelled completely.
  • Whole grains are healthier for you because they have more nutrients and fiber.
  • The more whole grains you eat, the more energy you will have and the stronger you will be!
  • Let’s try some pasta today! (give samples)
  • I also have something about pasta for you to take home with you today (pass out Pasta Handout).
Assessment Opportunities

At the end of this session, each student should be able to answer at least 3 questions correctly. Questions can be as simple as “What is the difference between whole and refined grains?”, “How do you make pasta?”, and “Why is pasta good for you?”

Standards assessment

Grades 3-5 Health and PE state-by-state standards

Grades 3-5 Science state-by-state standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Science Grade 4
STRAND: NGSS.4-LS. LIFE SCIENCE
TITLE 4-LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
PERFORMANCE EXPECTATION 4-LS1-2.
Students who demonstrate understanding can: Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Community connections

Students can discuss with family members what they learned about pasta, and show them the Pasta Handout. Encourage students to share with their family members a new fact they learned, such as “Pasta is part of the grain group” and report back if their families knew this fact as well.