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Exploring Fungi Unit

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Unit Overview

Exploring Fungi is a fascinating and engaging unit offering multiple outdoor, hands-on learning opportunities, including looking for fungi in the field, conducting a mushroom growing experiment, identifying fungi types, setting up a fungi garden and integrating sketching and photography as research tools.
Through this inquiry into the Kingdom of Fungi, students will be exposed to exciting Sustainability Systems and Futures, knowledge and understanding. The emphasis in this unit is on beneficial fungi and their roles in ecosystems, as well as how we can work with them. Fungi perform an incredibly important role in ecosystems worldwide, yet many people know little about fungi and their hidden world. Investigating fungi is a fascinating topic for students. Once students learn about the significance of fungi and how to identify them, they begin to see fungi everywhere and appreciate their essential roles in the ecosystem.
Many of us are generally unaware that at least 90% of plants rely on a symbiotic relationship with fungi to survive. Other types of fungi are responsible for breaking down organic material in ecosystems. Students will come to learn that the ‘mushroom’ we see is just the fruiting body of the whole organisms. They will be in awe to discover that a network of fine white filaments known as mycelium, is the real driving force behind the power of fungi. The mycelium either infiltrates a decomposing log or operates in an underground network which links plants across entire forest ecosystems, giving rise to the term the Wood-Wide-Web! The fruiting body is similar to a fruit or a flower and is the reproductive part of the lifecycle of fungi bearing their spores.
Fungi are classified as a separate kingdom distinct from plants and animals being more closely related to animals. Fungi have the potential to play a major role in future solutions in food security, plastic biodegradation, and climate change issues. Wonderful resources and teacher background notes have been developed to support the delivery of this exciting content to your students. Enjoy the learning journey...

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