A Lesson Plan on Fungi Diversity for the Centro de EducaciÃ³n Creativa Rachel Deliz Department of Environmental Studies, Chaminade University of Honolulu ABSTRACT Fungi are integral components of a forest environment, but they are often overlooked in elementary education, despi te their crucial role in nutri ent cycles. Concepts pertaining to fungi diversity were researched and compiled to be part of the 5 th grade curriculum of Centro de EducaciÃ³n Creativa. The result of this project was three PowerPoint presentations, each coupled with 2 3 visual aids, experiments and/or activities. I expect these presentations to aid in the environmental education curriculum at the C.E.C and to promote an appreciation of the Kingdom Fungi. RESUMEN Los hongos son ele mentos integrantes del ambiente forestal, pero a menudo no estÃ¡n representados en la educaciÃ³n primaria, a pesar de su posiciÃ³n crucial en los ciclos nutritivos. Se investigaron los conceptos relacionados con la diversidad de hongos y se recopilaron datos para el temario de la clase de quinto aÃ±o del Centro de EducaciÃ³n cada una acoplada con dos o tres ayudas visuales, experimentos o actividades. Yo espero que estas presenta ci ones sean incluidas en el currÃculo en educaciÃ³n ambiental en el C.E.C y promuevan el aprecio del Reino del los Hongos. INTRODUCTION Fungi are essential components of a healthy ecosystem. Capable of decay, fungi break down the elements contained in dead material and return them to the environment to be used by other species such as plants and animals. Their contribution to the flow of energy and nutrients through natural ecosystems is critical (Mata 1999). For instance, without the presence of mycorrhiza e, fungi that live on tree roots, trees would not be able to absorb the nutrients from leaf matter being decomposed. The recycling of nutrients through decomposition is fundamental for plant growth. There is low soil fertility in the tropics. This is larg ely due to the amount of rainfall, which washes away nutrients from the forest ground. Despite this low level of fertility in soil, Tropical environments are extremely productive (Terborgh 1992).. The nutrients of tropical ecosystems are largely found in l iving and recently dead organic matter. With the assistance of decomposers like fungi, plants recapture nutrients that are dissolving into absorbable molecules. Mycorrhizae use its thread root like structures called hyphae to wrap around hosts roots. This fungus invades tree roots; connect itself to the hosts vascular system to obtain nourishment. In return, mycorrhizae use its mass of hyphae, called mycelium, to trap nutrients from forest litter (Terborgh 1992). The combination of different types of Fungi makes it possible for tropical ecosystems to have
crucial biological role in ecosystem, it is important that available knowledge is available is to all groups of people. An integral part of elementary education is biological science, where children are first taught details about the natural world. During the science portion of their class, students are able to scientifically classify the observations made in their daily lives and local surroundings. I believe that Fungi education is underrepresented in environmental science. Often it is easier to study things one can instantly see in a forest and then later study the fungi in the soil that make such biomass possible. Out of the twelve life zones in Cost a Rica, seven are found in Monteverde (Haber 2000). With such a diverse population of plant life, it is crucial for Monteverde students to have a complete understanding of tropical biodiversity. School classes should initiate wonder and desire to discove r interesting facts. For most children in traditional education systems, lessons only utilize reading, worksheets, exams and lectures. Piagetian theory states that cognitive development stems from action in the setting and interactive learning occur as a r esult of assimilation and accommodation of stimuli (Speaker 2001). For curriculums to accept that children develop intellectually through hands on experience would provide elementary schools with higher levels of success. The Centro de EducaciÃ³n Creativa (C.E.C) was the first in Costa Rica to develop an entire school focused on environmental education (Burlingame 2000). Located in Monteverde, the community is surrounded by rare and endangered forests. The C.E.C. was founded to offer an alternate education opportunity for children in the community. Through bilingual education there are different learning techniques with environmental practices. Situated on 106 acres of cloud forest purchased from the Nature Conservancy, physical surroundings are coupled wi th Habitats certification, C.E.C. is the 1 st school in Central America to qualify; by demonstrating that its grounds provide ha be duplicated in traditional indoor classes (Krischke 2005). GOALS I created PowerPoint presentations on fungal diversity to give to the C.E.C, I felt that fungi education is underrepresented in Biodiver sity studies. The PowerPoint presentations will be available for 5 th diversity, always incorporating hands on activities to rei nforce the message. Teachers may use whichever or all visual aids suggested, maintaining the stimulating subject of fungi. The anticipated result of this project is for students to appreciate the significant and vital role fungi play on the environment ar ound them. Much biological terminology can be complicating, and I hope these lessons broke down each subject in an easy to understand format. The aims of this project are to initiate a greater appreciation for the kingdom fungi
METHODS I consulted Karen Gordon , the environmental education coordinator of C.E.C to gain an understanding of the material appropriate for 5 th graders. I received the syllabus of the 5 th Grade class, which covered the five biological kingdoms. Based on the syllabus, I began compi ling information based on all biological features of Fungus. I utilized the Based on research, I compiled my lesson plans into three sections that covered the basic bi ology of fungi. Each lesson was assembled into a PowerPoint presentation, coupled with several visual aids, experiments, and/or activities based on relevance. Of these hands on fungi activities, I personally designed most and supplemented by using posted experiments on the Internet. RESULTS: POWERPOINT PRESENTATION AND ACTIVITY PLANS I created three PowerPoint presentations about fungi diversity for the teachers of the 5 th grade at C.E.C. Each presentation is 25 minutes long and focuses on three import ant aspects of this kingdom. Each PowerPoint has 2 3 accompanying activities that should allow students to grasp difficult concepts through an interactive approach. Each lesson will teach students how fungi function biologically and within its environment. The first presentation covers nutrition in fungi. All living things have their own evolutionary traits that allow them to receive nutrients necessary for survival. This section introduces how fungi receive their nutrients, makes distinctions between auto trophs and heterotrophs, explains the different types of substrate used by fungi. An activity accompanying this lesson demonstrates that fungi must release digestive enzymes to breakdown substrate molecules into smaller more absorbable molecules. Another activity for this lesson demonstrates the vast quantify of mycorrhizae that can be found around a root. The second presentation covers reproduction in fungi. Reproduction is the ion explains asexual and sexual reproduction in fungi, the purpose of spores and describes spore dispersal methods. One activity coupled to this lesson is to make spore prints, which gives students the opportunity to see what spores look like. Another acti vity reproduction, illustrates how, despite the trillions of spores released, fungi require optimal environmental conditions for germination. The last activity is fungi charades, where students will be asked to act out for the rest of the class, the three dispersal methods explained in the lesson, for their class. The third presentation covers the response of fungi to stimuli. Stimuli are when an outside force encourages a process or activity to initiate for an organism. This section opens the subject on t he various factors necessary for fungal growth. Subjects covered in this lesson are, fungi in the tropics, fungal needs for light, water, wind and specific substrate. It also covered fungal relationships to animals. Visual aids in this section are an exper iment involving yeast, showing students results of anaerobic respiration. Another
activity is a game about how raindrops are necessary for Cyathus spp . (Bird nest fungi) fungi spore dispersal. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Karen Masters for he r patience and assistance in formulating this lesson plan. I would like to thank the staff of CIEE for their contributions in my semester in Costa Rica. I also would like to thank various members of my program who gave me support and ideas during long days and nights in the computer lab. I greatly appreciate the opportunity Centro EducaciÃ³n Creativa gave me to be apart of their elementary education and environmental mission of teaching the value of the ecosystem we are apart of. I would also like to thank t he Arguedas Villalobo s family for opening their home to me and giving me unconditional support during my independent study/home stay experience. LITERATURE CITED Monteverde: Ecology and Con servation of a Tropical Cloud Forest . Editors Nadkarni, N and Wheelwright, N. Oxford University Press, New York, New York. Monteverde: Ecology and Conservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest . Editors Nadkarni, N. Oxfo rd University Press, New York, New York. Krischke, S. 2005. Monteverde School Receives Eco Recognition. The Tico Times. W 8 Speaker, K. 2001. Interactive exhibit theory: Hint for implementing learner centered Terbough, J. 1992. Diversity and the Rain For est . Editors Scientific American Library, New York, New York.
Nutrition How Fungi absorb nutrients from substrate As heterotrophs, fungi cannot produce their own food and must receive nutrients from outside sources. Fun gi use the substrate that they grow on as their food source. To digest substrate, fungi need to excrete a digestiv e enzyme that reduces food into more absorbable molecules. The aim of this experiment is for students to understand how fungi eat. Approximat e time 10 minute Preparation 15 minute Experiment 5 minute Clean up Materials Sugar cubes Representing food molecules An empty glass Representing substrate A glass of warm water Representing digestive enzymes Straw Representing a strand of hyp hae Procedure Each student is given a glass full of sugar cubes, a different glass of warm water and a straw. They are told that they are now hungry fungi and that the glass is the substrate they are attached to. The sugar represents the nutrients that t he fungi need to receive. The straw will represent a strand of hyphae. The teacher will tell students to attempt to suck their nutrients from their substrate. It is impossible; their nutrient molecules are too large. The fungi need to excrete digestive enz ymes to break down the large molecules. The cup of warm water will represent the digestive enzymes. Students will be instructed to slowly pour their digestive enzymes onto their substrate through their hyphae, and now they are able to. Their nutrients have now been broken down into smaller absorbable molecules.
Nutrition Scale activity of Mycorrhizae It has been estimated that mycorrhizae can be found on 80% of all plant families. Mycorrhizae soil fungi that live on tree roots and c apture nutrients for their host. The this relationship, the tree will get to use the nutrients from the enormous tree litter because the mass of mycelium from the fun The roots of the tree provide the fungus with moisture and organic compound. Mycorrhizae cannot grow without their host. If one were to spread out strand of Mycorrhizae hyphae, they would be surprised at its l ength. Some hyphae have even been documented as the equivalent of three football fields. The objective of this activity is for students to understand how much hyphae are wrapped around the roots of most trees they see daily. Approximate Time 5 minute Pr eparation 10 minute Activity Materials Q tip (preferably an actual root) Represents a tree root A spool of thread for each student Represents Mycorrhizae Procedure Give each student a q tip or a root substitute. Hand each student a spool of thread. Ask students to wrap their spool of thread around root. Allow students to see how hyphae, similar to this spread can spread meters away, yet coiled up can fit entirely around a single root.
Reproduction Visual Aid If there are 100 fungi taken over the world? Trillions of spores are constantly in the air that we breathe, landing on different surfaces the world? For spo res to begin their growth cycle, they must first land in optimal conditions. This experiment is aimed to show the students that it is difficult for spores to find the environmental conditions conducive for growth. The aim of this activity is to answer the world? Proximate Time 15 minutes Preparations 15 minutes Activity 5 minutes Clean up Materials Several balloons Representing fungi fruiting body Cotton balls Representi ng spores Needle Representing catalyst initiating dispersal Deck of cards Representing various environmental conditions Electric fan Representing a dispersal method (Specifically wind). Procedure Fill up several balloons with as many cotton balls as possible and inflate them. Pass out the deck of cards to all of the students, making sure that all suits are evenly distributed. Tell students to stand up in various parts of the classroom. The teacher will stand on a chair holding the entire cotton ball filled balloons, with another helper standing behind the teacher with the electric fan. The teacher will pop the balloon, and the fan will spread the cotton balls throughout the classroom. The student will be told to pick up cotton balls that are within a foot distance to them. Inevitably some students will have more cotton balls then others, and some without any. Now it will be revealed which card represents which environmental condition. Hearts moist rotting leaves. Diamonds Pavement. Clubs Sand. Sp ades Decaying logs. Students who have hearts or spades will represent the living conditions that these spores can grow on. All spores on the ground or in being germinat ed. This should accurately portray why fungi have not taken over the world.
Reproduction Visual Aid Fungi Dispersal Charades Many dispersal mechanisms for fungi are incredibly animated and unusual in their ability to spread their spores to pre ferred conditions. Each fungus has evolved morphological adaptations that facilitate spore dispersal. The aim of this activity is for students to see the similar needs fungi share in having to spread their spores, yet the different mechanisms they have evo lved to accomplish this. Approximate Time 10 minutes For all students to prepare their skit 15 20 minutes For all skits to be performed Material None recommended. True charades do not involve any props. The goal is to use full body movement that takes advantage of available space. Yet if inspiration strikes and students are inclined to use certain props to better illustrate their method of dispersal, props are welcomed. Charades Student will be split up into three groups. Using the three di spersal methods explained in this lecture, (Cordycep, Stinkhorn, and Puffball) each group will be asked to collectively act them out for the rest of the class. Every student must be used for this activity; each student must represent some essential part of the dispersal. The rest of the class will guess which dispersal method the group is acting out.
Reproduction Visual Aid Spore Prints All Fungi use spores to in reproduction. A spore is a small, simple propagating unit without an em bryo that serves in the production of the individuals. Spores can be located on the fertile surface of the fruiting body. The aim of this visual aid is for students to see the reproductive structure of spores. Approximate Time The teacher should prepare S pore Prints at least four hours prior to class, even the night before to ensure results. The time frame on this visual aid depends largely on the variety of fungi obtained. Materials White paper A knife Magnifying glasses Fungi fruiting bodies Procedure The teacher can provide mushrooms for this activity by searching for fungi in local setting. If the teacher would like students to play an active role in this process, the whole class can go outside and search for a variety of fungi. For efficiency, can th e teacher remove the fertile surface ahead of time, or students can be included in this process. Remove the stem by cutting it where it meets the cap (students would use safety scissors). Put the cap on a piece of paper, gills facing down. Cover the paper and cap with a bowl or tub of some sort lid to maintain the humidity around the cap. Leave it for a few hours and then remove the tub and cap. Over time, mature spores (and only mature spores) will have been released from the gills and fallen onto the pape r. What you see is a spore print, a mass of hundreds of thousands or millions of spores. In this quantity the color is easy to see. The color of the gills need not be the same as the color of the spores. Pass prints around to the students to observe with m agnifying glasses.
Response to Stimuli ore known as peridioles located in the fungal cup. When raindrops hit the cup, its shape causes the spores to be splashed out and away from it. The aim of this activity is to illustrate how some fungi rely on the stimuli of raindrops to a ctivate reproduction. Approximate Time 10 minutes Preparation 15 20 minute Activity Materials Several Bowls Represent the fungal cup Balloons Represent the peridioles spores Scotch tape Represents the sticky hapteron Hacky sacks or small bags f illed with beans Represent the raindrops Chairs or desks Representing various forms of good substrate conditions Procedure The teacher will place several bowls around the classroom; bowls need to be securely placed. These bowls will contain six fist sized balloons. Each balloon will have small piece of tape attached to it, leaving a sticky side exposed. Chairs and desks will be arranged around each bowl. The students will be split into several teams, and given enough Hacky sacks so that each individu al has one . These groups will be competing against one another. Students will have to throw Hacky sacks from a specific location at the bowls. Their peridioles that land on the ground do not count. Whichever group at the end has the most peridioles land on a good substrate, wins.
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Un plan de leccin sobre la diversidad de hongos para el Centro de Educacin Creativa
A lesson plan on fungi diversity for the Centro de Educacin Creativa
Fungi are integral components of a forest environment, but they are often overlooked in elementary education, despite their crucial role in nutrient cycles. Concepts pertaining to fungi diversity were researched and compiled to be part of the 5th grade curriculum of Centro de Educacin Creativa. The result of this project was three PowerPoint presentations, each coupled with 2-3 visual aids, experiments and/or activities. I expect these presentations to aid in the environmental education curriculum at the C.E.C and to promote an appreciation of the Kingdom Fungi.
Los hongos son elementos integrantes del ambiente forestal, pero a menudo no estn representados en la educacin primaria, a pesar de su posicin crucial en los ciclos nutritivos. Se investigaron los conceptos relacionados con la diversidad de hongos y se recopilaron datos para el temario de la clase de quinto grado del Centro de Educacin Creativa. Los resultados del proyecto fueron tres presentaciones en PowerPoint, cada una acoplada con dos o tres ayudas visuales, experimentos o actividades. Yo espero que estas presentaciones sean incluidas en el currculo en educacin ambiental en el C.E.C y promuevan el aprecio del Reino de los Hongos.
Text in English.
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