This is an activity to introduce and practise fruit idioms. Students look at some fruit facts, complete the idioms with the missing fruit, match the expressions to their definitions, complete the sentences with the missing fruit and correct mistakes in the fruit idioms. I have deliberately come up with examples that are related to work, jobs etc. to be able to use this activity with my business students but feel free to use it with your general English classes also.
I love researching the origins of idioms. I have found that students find it easier to memorise the expressions if there is a colourful story behind them that they can visualise. My favorite idiom in today’s activity is to go pear-shaped. Allegedly the phrase comes from the Royal Air Force and is used to describe pilots’ bad execution of loops in the air, ending up with pear shapes instead of round shapes (Source: grammarist.com). I also love the idiom to be the apple of one’s eye which originally referred to the pupil of the human eye which was believed to be a round object. As sight was a precious commodity at the time, the idiom soon became a metaphor for something precious as well (Source: grammarist.com).
Time: 60 minutes
- To increase familiarity and correct use of idioms with fruit.
- To complete the idioms with the missing fruit.
- To match the idioms to their definitions.
- To complete the sentences with the missing fruit.
- To correct the mistakes in the fruit idioms.
- Put students in pairs or small groups and ask them to discuss the 3 fruit facts below and decide which ones they are most surprised by. 1. A banana is not a fruit, it is a herb! Being easy to digest and highly nutritious, these are the first fruits offered to babies. 2. Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. There are 200 seeds in an average strawberry. 3. Tomatoes are not a veggie but a fruit. They are regarded as the world’s most popular fruit and have more genes than humans. Source: https://www.befitandfine.com/facts-of-fruits/
- Hand out a copy of Tutti Frutti to each student or display it on the screen.
- Individually ask students to complete the expressions with the missing fruit. I have come up with some clues (on the right) to help students out and to make it more fun. Vocabulary activities can be quite discouraging if the students are not familiar with any of the expressions, so I try to give students boosts of confidence as often as possible and giving them clues is a fun way to guide them towards finding the answers by themselves and engaging them from the start.
- When they are finished ask them to compare with their classmate(s).
- Check together as a class.
- Ask the students to match the idioms to their definitions (Exercise 2).
- Check together as a class but again ask students to first compare their answers with their partners and justify their answers.
- When the students have finished, ask them to look at the sentences in Exercise 3 and complete the sentences with the missing fruit. Ask them to try and do the exercise without looking at the expressions. Turn this into a mini competition, provide students with new clues or ask them to give clues to each other if they know the answers but their classmates don’t. Always try to make it as active and engaging as possible. Encourage effort and collaboration, praise effort and willingness to keep trying rather than speed, efficiency and getting things right the first time. Encourage students to make mistakes and have fun.
- When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner and then check together as a class.
- Last but not least go to Exercise 4 and ask students to replace the incorrect fruit with the correct one. Again have some fun with it and maybe do it in teams, pairs etc.
- Check together as a class.
Fast finisher ideas:
- Ask students to choose 4 or 5 idioms and draw their literal and figurative meaning. This activity is just begging for something artsy 😉 and some baking.
- Ask students to get into small groups or pairs to act out the idioms.
- Choose an idiom and use it as a writing prompt, the first line of a story, a theme behind a story etc.
- Research the origin of a chosen idiom.
And before you go. What do you get when you put an iPhone in a blender? Apple juice! Feel free to cringe 😉