Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fun with Fungi!

Don't be turned away by the title! I promise this fungus was for the purpose of learning. I have to say that since I'm such an anti germ and gross things sort of person and have a sensitive nose, this was a huge deal for me as a teacher.  Normally I don't do food in the classroom because it is more of a mess than it is worth, but for the sake of experimenting I brought in food and we grew mold.

Our experiment called for slices of bread, pieces of banana, and orange slices.  We sealed samples of all three foods in our zip lock bags so they were not exposed to excess air.  Then students placed their bags in various places in the classroom, some dark hidey-holes and others in the sunlight.

After the first week of sitting, the students came back to discover some green, gray, and white spotting on the orange and bread, as well as fuzzy sections.  The banana was just a bit mushy and had brown veins running through it. 

After another week of sitting, the bags were getting extra disgusting.  The banana was barely holding it gooey shape, the bread was completely covered in fuzzy mold, and the orange had turned into a furry, white blob.  Plus, the bags were starting to smell... Not good for me or my sensitive nose! The little drawer that stored one of the bags was a bit odorous upon opening... Students and I quickly agreed that they were garbage bound after that! 

As yucky as these baggies were, they did offer some neat insight into the world of mold and fungus.  The students enjoyed observing the different types of fungus that grew, and then they created drawings of each item and its respective mold.  Each picture was then given a short description, either in paragraph form or as bullet points. They also made for great bulletin board material!

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