Is that penne rigate or chifferi rigate? Pasta classification with a dichotomous key!

During Saturday's quiz, Chloe C. employs a dichotomous key to identify the six pieces of pasta in her assortment.

We’re pleased to have shepherded another cohort of potential future scientists through a reading of Sy Montgomery’s The Octopus Scientists , a volume in the excellent and ever-expanding Scientists in the Field series!


The book had introduced them to the concept of the dichotomous key and, during last Saturday’s quiz, each student was provided with a six-piece assortment of pasta and a dichotomous (aka single-access) key and challenged to correctly identify every pasta shape.

Olivia W.

To keep things interesting, we prepared multiple, slightly different pasta assortments and a corresponding dichotomous key for each of them. Chloe C., whose quiz paper is shown in the image that tops this post, received a bag containing Assortment A. Alice C. and Olivia W., whose desktops are shown in the next two snapshots, both drew bags containing Assortment B.