Thinking Scientifically: The Pasta Challenge

Thinking Scientifically:  The Pasta Challenge
Thinking Scientifically:  The Pasta Challenge
Thinking Scientifically:  The Pasta Challenge
Thinking Scientifically:  The Pasta Challenge
Thinking Scientifically:  The Pasta Challenge
Thinking Scientifically:  The Pasta Challenge
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3 MB|9 pages
Product Description

Thinking Scientifically - The Pasta Challenge: Problem solving, critical thinking, data collection and analysis as well as collaboration between peers should be fun and the centerpiece of every science classroom. This science lab will challenge students to think outside the box and work together to gather as well as graph data and search for patterns all while providing the teacher with opportunities to learn about their students' basic scientific skill sets.

Do you want to continue to give students worksheet after worksheet or would you like to provide engaging, hands-on activities that help teach 21st century skills?

What are the benefits of this activity?

All Thinking Scientifically lab activities can be done with basic and inexpensive household supplies. This activity can be done at any point during the school year including the first day of the year or semester. Students will not only engage in scientific thought and strategy but also teachers can incorporate social emotional learning by taking time to have group members learn about each other and have fun in mixed groups.

What will the students be doing?

Students will work in groups of 3 or 4 and are challenged to develop a procedure that will allow them to create a mathematical model (graph) to find the relationship between the length and mass of spaghetti. Teams are provided with guiding questions, lab design template to help them in their planning. Teams must then practice testing their model so they can accurately make predictions given to them by their teacher.


Want to incorporate more Thinking Scientifically activities into your classroom? Please check out my other products:

Main topics covered in this activity:

  1. NGSS Science and Engineering Standards of Developing and Using Models and Planning and Carrying Out Investigations.
  2. NGSS Cross Cutting Concept of Patterns.
  3. Common Core standards related to graphing, best fit lines, and interpolation
  4. 21st Century WICOR skills of Writing, Inquiry, Organization and Collaboration
  5. Students will also utilize basic science measurement skills.

What is included in this product:

  • 4-page student handout
  • Rubric for scoring and providing student with grading expectations
  • Teacher page of written instruction handout
  • Link to YouTube video which includes directions and visible solution to challenge
  • Pictures of setup and supplies needed for activity

Material list:

  • Boxes of long spaghetti.  Thick is better to give more mass and the quantity depends on class size, but typically 2 boxes per class of 30 is more than enough. The pasta can be reused from class to class also.
  • Rulers with metric system preferred for ease of measurement and graphing.
  • Balance (scale) accurate to at least 0.1 but 0.01 preferred.  Affordable options available and discussed in teacher instructions.

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Dan Olandese

Next Generation Lessons

Total Pages
9 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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