Fruit failure

Sometimes a lesson plan bears fruit, other times the same lesson plan does not. Last term I experimented with having the students make a "real fruit poster." Last term the students surprised me with the effort they went to in bringing unusual fruit. This term most of the fruit was grabbed from a tree or bush on campus, often a fruit from a tree between the parking lot and the building. Almost all fruit were duplicated, triplicated, or more. Last term the students really put together a fantastic poster display. This term the students, well, did not. With few fruits to work with, the students settled on a very basic and somewhat inelegant solution for their chart.

Nagsia, Donovan, Austin

Part of the problem was the new lounge table. The table meant that the class could not all access the paper. While certainly the larger issue was a lack of diversity of fruit (perhaps I need to purchase fruit for the class in advance to ensure diversity), the lack of space is also a problem. There are, however, few alternatives. The science labs all have tables that are in the way. The computer lab might have the floor space, but the computers are a too tempting distraction. Perhaps this is a situation in which MITC will have to be booked for the floor space.

Where last term the class had many voices with opinions on how to lay out the fruit and tackle the task, the social chemistry of this term's section is such that the broad majority are happy to sit silently back and let one or two students take the lead. Nagsia and Austin are in the driver's seat above, making the decisions and laying out the fruit. Behind the table some of the students are sitting on the couch.

A decision was made to go with one group per sheet, a design decision facilitated by the lack of diversity of the fruit.  Also of interest to me was that some students were eating their fruit during class. The students I knew 25 years ago would have been uncomfortable eating in front of other students when they did not have enough to share. Solo eating was bad manners, or to eat in front of others. This is not just the "come and eat" rule that everyone knows is the tradition, this is the fundamental ability to feel that one can eat in front of others. If I cannot share, then I cannot eat, was the old rule. These are not the students of yore.

A rather sad collection of fruit to say the least. Bear in mind I brought the grapes and kiwi fruit. Contrast the above to one from last term:

Thee is simply no comparison. In light of the lack of effort, this term the fruit assignment was withdrawn from the grade book.

This activity went well enough last term than outright abandonment is not yet warranted. I want to try bringing back a point system where duplicates get half the points, triplicates a third, etc. I want to consider adding a bounty to unusual fruit. And perhaps pass out the sheet in advance. One could then award bonuses for being the only fruit in a category. One suggestion made to me was to ban the bringing of any fruit found on campus. While that might be extreme, banning guava, Eugenia uniflora (teri), and betelnut could not hurt this activity.

An alternative might be a "fruit walk" where we walk and talk fruit on campus, reviewing again the Latin and local names along with the local uses of the fruit plants on campus. Trundle down across the road and look for loose coconut, head up past the soursop trees to the lime and calamansi grove, then up to look for pineapples.


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