Young children can sometimes fixate more on the pasta than the penguins, which are the purpose of this project. Instructors should ground the excitement with a brief yet fact-filled introduction to the world of penguins. The Oscar-winning film, "The March of the Penguins," provides an amusing way to excite early elementary students about the often wintry birds. As students work with the pasta, encourage them to remember that not all penguins live in chilly climates; some exist in South America and Africa as well.
Learning about penguins is a classic way to expose children to the natural world. Many early elementary teachers provide materials for students to experience penguins visually, through reading, nature films or visits to zoos. Macaroni pasta projects, as opportunities for tactile creativity, can supplement this. The pasta's rounded, cylindrical shape ensures a 3-D feel for the project.
Guiding Students Through the Activity
Preparing the Pasta
A macaroni project for penguins demands some preparation before the craft fun can start. Most penguins' bodies sport at least two of three colors: black, white, and yellow. The instructor at the helm of the project can dye the pasta in advance, or she can involve the students in this activity. A quarter of a cup of rubbing alcohol with 10 drops of food coloring can dye 2 cups of pasta. Add these ingredients into a sturdy plastic bag. Two hours is sufficient to complete the coloring.
Learning Penguin Species
Macaroni can mimic the shape of more than one type of penguin. Sixteen different penguin species currently exist; educators can stage crafts that let kids learn about one or more of them in depth. Subtle differences in the placement of the pasta can suggest a different species of penguin. Erect-crested, rockhopper, and macaroni penguins all sport distinctive yellow plumage on their heads. When shown images of each species, children can choose their favorite, experimenting with various macaroni positions to design it.
More Pasta Shapes for Macaroni Projects
Macaroni pasta's curved shape proves versatile and ideal for kids' crafts. Yet project leaders should consider other pasta shapes to complement macaroni. This can enhance kids' creativity in creating penguins. A bunch of tiny orzo pasta shaped into an oval can represent a penguin's body, for example. Students can use angel hair pasta to represent feathers. One orecchiette on its side could be a penguin's eye. Alphabet pasta allows a kid to title their work or spell out a specific species' name.
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