Something as simple as making a fruit salad can entice youngsters to learn in all sorts of ways, says Lucy Blackburn
Making individual fruit salads with 30 inner-city Year 1 children could have been a disaster. However, some useful teaching strategies helped this particular lesson to not only run smoothly but also to be fun and purposeful.
Prior to the lesson we read Handa's Surprise by Eileen Browne, which is centred around a variety of fruits such as mango, guava, avocado, pineapple and passion fruit.
I wanted to show the variety of fruit the world has to offer and demonstrate how different fruits are prepared.
The children made predictions about what materials I would need to prepare the fruit and which part of the fruit we could eat - stone, skin, leaves or pips. This was useful because the children tasted a variety of fruits so that later on they didn't feel the need to try their fruit salad while they were still making it. Then I got them to draw designs for a fruit salad.
The classroom set-up was a key strategy for keeping the children motivated. I organised the lesson so that groups of six children sat at the tables and they were told they couldn't leave their place. This was for safety - I didn't want them wandering around the class with knives. Each table had a different fruit to prepare. We had chosen our favourite fruits - grapes, strawberries, bananas, apples and oranges. I moved the fruit around each table rather than the children moving around the classroom.
Every child had the opportunity to prepare every bit of fruit and they enjoyed making their own fruit salad. It was no fuss at all and I didn't even have to shout
Lucy Blackburn teaches at Holy Family Catholic Primary in Leeds
Tips for a tasty lesson
- Get parental permission for the fruit-tasting sessions and ask for donations toward the cost of the fruit - pound;1 per child is usually enough.
- When the children are drawing their fruit salad designs, remind them to draw their fruit after it has been prepared.
- Take pictures of the children holding their fruit salad for your assessment and their evaluation.