The aim of this session is to help children understand that there are many different types of pasta. Pasta can be used to make many different types of meals. The main activity ‘Have a go’, involves children creating a cold pasta salad by preparing and mixing the ingredients together.
Listen and respond
Prepare the ingredients and equipment in advance. What you will need is listed on the Pleasing pasta recipe. Bring in some different types of uncooked pasta, e.g. green, wholemeal, twists, penne, spaghetti, ribbons, macaroni, lasagne sheets, ravioli, fresh. You may find it useful to have some packaging from pasta and pasta dishes to aid discussion, e.g. canned ravioli, a packet of lasagne. Remember to precook the pasta for the cooking activity just before the session. See ‘Setting up a cooking session’ in the leader’s guide for more information.
Show the children lots of pasta in different forms. Talk about the shapes and colours. Allow the children to handle some of the pasta and get them to describe what it is like, e.g. long, thin, short, tube-like, hard. Talk about the similarities and differences. Ask the children what pasta dishes they have eaten. Establish that lots of food can be made from pasta. You could show the children the ‘Pasta meal cards’. Explain that pasta is a healthy food because it fills us up so we can work and play without feeling hungry.
Talk about the ingredients used to make pasta and where they come from. (Flour from wheat and eggs from chickens.) You could make some pasta to show the children how it is done. Talk about how it is cooked and how it can be made into different dishes. Explain that, like pizza in session 6, pasta comes from Italy. See if the children can remember where the UK and Italy are on a map.
Have a go
Organise the children into groups of 4. Each group can take turns to work with an adult to make a cold pasta salad. Before they begin, get the children to compare cooked and uncooked pasta and comment on the difference. How has the pasta changed? Explain that pasta is soft when it is first made, but then it is dried to make it last longer. Drying makes it hard, so we cook it in water to make it soft again. Prepare the pasta dish with the children, following the recipe. Cut the cucumber into sticks so it is easier for the children to chop. Demonstrate how to open and drain the canned sweetcorn, beans and tuna, but explain that this is a job for older children or adults because cans are sharp.
Use dried pasta and other craft materials to create a collage of their favourite pasta dish.
Make a copy of the ‘At home’ sheet for each of the children. Explain to the children what the letter says.
Allow children to explore the different types of pasta by touch. Ensure that they do not eat or place the pasta in their mouth.
Get the children to select some prepared ingredients which they can help to stir into cooked pasta.
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