Using pasta to explore science, math and art

I had some time and my little one wanted to make something different – as usual. I looked in the cupboards and found boxes of expired pasta in the back – PERFECT! Instead of throwing them out, we used them. We filled a pot to boil water and he asked about what does that mean, and we talked about different states of matter and when water changes. I got our infrared thermometer which he loves to use to measure the temperature of the water throughout the process. Then about how the dried pasta changes to a fun slimy pasta due to the absorption of water.

Once it was cooked and cooled (I ran cold water over it for a while), he put 1 ½ cups (using 3 scoops with the ½ cup measuring cup) of the pasta in a Ziploc bag.  We then added food coloring.  We started with 5 drops, but discovered it was too little so we added 5 more.  That was a good intensity of color for him for this project.  Then, I closed the bag and he shook it until the pasta was dyed. You can’t really see how he’s shaking the bag, but he said he wanted to “shake it as fast as a cheetah” :)

I poured the pasta onto a paper towel and quickly rinsed the bag and repeated until we had as many colors as he wanted.  We like to experiment with different colors, the orange is made from 15 yellow drops and 3 red drops.  The purple is from 10 red drops and 5 blue drops.

Once they were all made, we put them in a container and started to play.  Cole wanted to play with his dinosaurs so we did a dinosaur area with volcanoes.  After a while, we did a dinosaur dig where we took turns hiding the dinosaurs under the pasta and the other person had to find the dinosaurs.

He is obsessed with frozen things right now, so he wanted to see what they would be like frozen, so we put it in the freezer.  We did this throughout the day because he didn’t realize they would not be cold after a while and that just was not acceptable.  We had rotating sets of pasta, which he kept checking on to see how frozen they were getting.  Of

All kinds of fun learning with a box of expired pasta!

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