Exploring Fungi

Mushroom research and activities

We had an earnest talk about the importance of not touching mushrooms, toadstools or any other fungi in nature as it often requires an expert to identify different fungi correctly.

We examined the different parts of the mushroom and discussed how the partial veil breaks when the mushroom is ready to produce spores.

I made labelled and mute charts available along with nomenclature cards with definitions for exploration and revision.

Links for my materials are at the bottom of this post.

Spore prints

We made spore prints of some mushrooms. This gave the children an idea of just how many spores a mushroom can release.

You will need:
  • Some mushrooms (not button mushrooms) with healthy, large gills.
  • A piece of smooth paper - you can use coloured paper and lay a few mushrooms out in an interesting pattern/arrangement
  • A bowl large enough to cover the mushrooms laid out on the paper
  • Fixative for after (leave the mushroom under the bowl for at least 24 hours)

You can see a tutorial HERE.

I was hoping to make these paper mache toadstools, but we ran out of time so I will bank it for next time.

Mould research and activities

Again we discussed the importance of safety when dealing with mould, including washing hands and not putting anything mouldy near your face.

We have started doing some experiments with bread mould. Firstly we sealed pieces of bread in zip lock bags. We ran two concurrent experiments - dry bread versus wet bread and dark environment versus light environment.

We observed the colour of the mould and charted its growth each day - keeping a log for recording the changes and growth.

It was interesting to watch the change once the mould became visible. We were careful to put each sample back exactly the way we found it - this led to the discovery of dry window sample was growing mould on the underside of the bread only (hence the above pictures being label down).

I created some materials for expanding on some of the aspects of mould. I am sharing these for free.

FREE mould labelled and mute charts can be found HERE (includes a set with the US spelling of 'mold')

If you would like to use my FREE observation sheet, it is HERE, I also have another generic one HERE.

You can find my mushroom nomenclature and definition cards HERE and the labelled and mute charts HERE. I have also made a definition booklet which is available HERE. Or buy the whole bundle HERE.

For other resources and extension ideas take a look at my Mycology Pinterest Board

Follow Elementary's board Mycology on Pinterest.

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  1. Lolly, thank you so much. This is just what I needed. These will be added to my shelves soon. And thanks for your comment on my blog 😊

    1. You're welcome :) I'm looking forward to your posts on The Great Stories :)

  2. Thanks for posting such wonderful pictures and thorough extensions. Your resources are perennially some of my favorite. I think I have half of your posts *saved* on Facebook.

    1. Thank you - you're so welcome. I do enjoy stopping by your blog as well :)

  3. These are perfect for our homeschool study :) Thank you!