K.8: Pasta families

Lesson overview

Theme:Being comfortable with difference
Age Group:Kindergarten
Learning Area:Mathematics

Content descriptor

Students sort & classify familiar objects and explain the basis for these classifications.

Teachers notes

  1. This activity encourages students to recognise that we all have many features in common but also have many differences.
  2. Students may need to be assisted to see the parallel between the pasta and people.

Source: Adapted from an activity, Pasta Power, in HALL, Nada Saderman, Creative Resources for the Anti-bias Classroom, Delmar, 1999.


Collection of different shaped pasta, large container, small containers (same number as varieties of pasta), A4 card and glue/paste or sticky tape.


  1. Collect different shaped pasta, e.g. spaghetti, macaroni, lasagne, penne, shells (including coloured vegetable varieties) and place in a large container.
  2. Encourage students to explore the mixed pasta in the large container. Discuss with the class the different shapes, colours and sizes.
  3. Ask students to sort each variety of pasta into smaller containers. Ask the students to describe a special feature of each variety e.g. long, orange, flat, or shell-shaped, as they sort.
  4. Discuss the language features of different pasta, e.g. which pasta variety or the longest? Shortest? Curliest? Most colourful? Least colourful?
  5. Discuss with the class the idea that while the varieties of pasta look different, they also have much in common such as the ingredients, the making, the cooking the nutritional value and the fact that they all belong to the pasta family. Students could think of different meals that they have with pasta (e.g. lasagna, macaroni).
  6. Ask students to paste the pasta onto pieces of card in any design they wish. They may use one or many varieties.
  7. Alternatively, students can make a pasta face or make their name from pasta.