Bananas are very popular in my house but the moment the skins start to turn brown, my children turn their noses up at them. I often get left with a few in the fruit bowl that needed using up. Here are some ideas for what to do with them.
- Banana Muffins These are delicious and can be eaten at any time – even for breakfast. There are plenty of recipes on the Internet but I used this one. I couldn’t find any paper muffin cases in the cupboard so I used my silicon muffin tray to make these.
2. Banana Loaf This banana loaf is so delicious! There are a lot of recipes online. Some call for cream cheese icing which I think goes really well with banana. I drizzled this one with glacé icing as I didn’t have any cream cheese. You can add lots of different things to banana loaf such as chopped walnuts, raisins or cinnamon. It’s also nice if you substitute some or all of the flour for wholemeal flour.
3. Cooked Bananas You can do these in the oven but I usually cook them in a frying pan for speed. Slice the bananas in half along their length. Put in a pan with some butter, lemon juice and brown sugar. Cook until they are brown and soft, and the sugar is becoming a sticky sauce. They are delicious served with cream.
4. Banana “ice cream” I have put the words ice cream in inverted commas because there is no cream involved with this recipe. It is very simple and healthy as the only ingredient is bananas, although I like to experiment by adding other things such as cinnamon or peanut butter. The one pictured here has cinnamon added which gives it its lovely golden brown colour. Chop up some bananas and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Freeze them until they are almost solid but not quite. If they have been in the freezer too long, take them out and leave them at room temperature for about an hour. You can also add other soft fruit to the bananas such as strawberries, raspberries or peach. Blend the fruit with a hand blender until it is smooth and resembles ice cream. You can fool yourself (or your children) that you are eating ice cream when it is actually just fruit.
I cannot take the credit for these ideas; I got them from an excellent session run by John Suffolk at the Association of Teachers of Mathematics conference. John explained that it is a good idea to use your students as equipment because then you don’t have to carry the equipment around from one classroom to another. Another advantage of this kind of teaching method is that taking an active part in the lesson, rather than just listening passively, helps students to learn.
- Learning about multiplication tables, factors, and prime numbers. Ask ten students to stand up. Can they get into a solid rectangle shape? (5 x 2) Can they do it a different way? (A long rectangle 10 by 1). Now ask two more learners to stand up. Now how many different rectangles can they make? Now ask a thirteenth person to join in. What happens now? Why is this?
2. Sum of the angles in a polygon. Three students form a triangle. A fourth student moves around the inside of the triangle, being gently guided by the three corners to make sure they turn through all the angles. When the student returns to where they started, they will be facing the other way because they will have turned through 180 degrees. Now try with a rectangle. What happens now? What about other polygons?
3. Algebraic Graphs. This requires a big space. A playground would be ideal. Mark out the x and y axes, either with chalk or with cards. To start with, each student stands on the x axis and they are told their x value according to where they are standing (x = -2, x = -1, x = 0, x = 1 etc.) and they all hold onto a long piece of string. You can give the more able students the negative numbers for differentiation. Then you give the students an equation such as y = 2x – 1. Each student has to move to the correct position. They should note what shape they make – a straight line for a linear equation and a curve for a quadratic. You can even solve simultaneous equations in this way – use two groups of students and two pieces of string. The point where the two strings cross over is the solution to the equations.
4. Loci. This is best done outside where there is plenty of room, but can be adapted for the classroom. Ask the students to stand approximately two metres from you. Ask them to note what shape they are making. (They should be roughly standing in a circle.) Now if you have two trees nearby, ask them to stand so that the trees are equidistant from them. You could also use two chairs, two students, or any other objects. What shape are you making now? The students should be in a straight line. This activity can also be used to show the loci of all points a certain distance from a straight line (just draw a line on the floor), the bisector of an angle (stand so that two walls are the same distance from you). Perhaps you can think of others.