The messier the food, the more fun it is to eat, and spaghetti may be the messiest of all. So pasta fan Conrad B. asked us, how many noodles are in a box of spaghetti? We had no idea either, so here in the Bedtime Math test kitchen we counted it up. Many kinds of pasta all come in 1-pound boxes, so the skinnier the noodles, the more noodles you need to make 1 pound. We counted up spaghetti, slightly thicker linguine, and super-skinny capellini (which means “little hairs” in Italian). The result: 24 linguine noodles weigh 1 ounce, giving us 384 noodles in 16 ounces or 1 pound. The skinnier spaghetti came to 36 per ounce, or 576 noodles per pound. Finally, the super-thin capellini had a whopping 71 noodles in an ounce, or 1,136 noodles per pound! If you’re looking to do lots of slurping, angel hair is the way to go.
Wee ones: If you slurp up 5 noodles, what number noodle do you slurp next?
Little kids: They say you should twirl just 3 spaghetti noodles at a time on your fork, so you don’t make a blob too big to bite. If you eat 3 noodles at a time, how many have you had after 3 bites? Bonus: If you always eat all 3 off each forkful, can you end up eating 14 noodles?
Big kids: How many 3-noodle fork twirls will feed you 1 ounce (24 noodles) of linguine? Bonus: If a box of angel hair has 1,200 noodles and you eat 1/2 the box yourself, how many noodles do you eat?
The sky’s the limit: If 24 linguine noodles weigh an ounce, but so do 71 angel hair, about how many times as heavy as angel hair is a linguine noodle? What nearby number would make it “perfect”?
Wee ones: Number 6.
Little kids: 9 noodles. Bonus: No, because 14 isn’t a nice neat multiple of 3 – you’ll eat 12 or 15.
Big kids: 8 fork twirls. Bonus: 600 noodles.
The sky’s the limit: About 3 times as heavy. It would be exactly 3 times if there were 72 angel hair per ounce.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.