This activity follows on from the mushroom parachute quiz game. Sit in a circle around the parachute.
You will need:
A mushroom with cap and stalk (if possible), an apple (cut in half), other fruit such as pears.
Start the activity by holding up a mushroom with cap and stalk.
photograph © ama
Ask the children to put their hands up if they think that the mushroom is a plant – ask the children to then put their hands up if they think that the mushroom is an animal – finally ask them to put their hands up if they think that the mushroom is something else.
Explain that a mushroom is part of a fungus and fungi have their very own Kingdom. Fungi are not plants and they are not animals!
Mushrooms and toadstools are the fruit bodies of a certain group of fungi. There are lots of different shaped fruit bodies formed by different groups within the fungal kingdom. Show some of the different shapes and sizes of fruit bodies produced by the fungi using pocket guide to common fungi or similar.
The fruit body:
The fruit body of the fungus can be likened to an apple or a pear which are the fruits of the apple and pear tree, respectively. The main purpose of the fruit body is to protect and disperse the fungal spores (which are similar to the seeds of a plant – (show apple seeds within the apple) – so just like apples protect their seeds by surrounding them with protective fruit so fungi protect their spores in fruit bodies.
The main body of the fungus:
The tree part (or body) of the fungus is very often hidden from view and is made up of tiny tubes called hyphae that form a network called a mycelium.
Mycelium growing. Photograph © ama
Sometimes you can see mycelium if you are digging in the soil or if you look at the underside of a rotten log. The mycelium is busy finding food and water for the fungus; when it has enough food and water and all the other conditions suit it, the mycelium will produce a fruit body and disperse its spores.
The parts of a mushroom fruit body:
Using a complete mushroom explain the different parts of the fungus – cap, stem or stipe, gills, ring (if visible) and where the spores are and why (i.e. the gills are close together to protect the spores whilst they are growing and the stem lifts the cap up away from the ground so that the spores can drop off and the wind can blow them around to find a suitable spot to grow into a new fungus).
Teachers guide: See worksheet 2,3 and 7 in How the mushroom got its spots.
Click here to Activity 3
Fungi produce lots of different fruit bodies. Here are some examples!
Photo © Paul Hugill
Photos © Stuart Skeates
Photo © ama
Take part in the BMS 'Have you seen this fungus?' survey. Click here for more information.