Education

Fungi and Teaching in Scotland

Fungi are one of the largest groups of organisms on our planet and include some of the oldest, largest and smallest organisms known.

They support the health of our natural world and are widely used in the production of important medicines (like Penicillin based antibiotics and Statins) and many types of food (e.g. fizzy drinks, chocolate, coffee, Marmite).

Fungi offer many teaching opportunities both in the classroom and out of doors. Teachers of all levels including rangers and other outdoor providers will find many useful resources in the links below. Here are just a few examples of how fungi can be used to deliver the new Curriculum for Excellence (many ideas and activities are described in the Teacher's Notes in Fungi4Schools but links to a few specific activities are included below) :


Primary Education

 Fungi (plural of fungus) are not in the plant or animal kingdom. They are in a kingdom of their own! And they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

They are mostly made of thread-like tubes, called hyphae that are usually too small to see. These threads grow into a branching network, called a mycelium. Fungi don’t have flowers or seeds – instead they have mushrooms or toadstools. These grow from the mycelium and make and spread spores (spores are the fungal equivalent of plant seeds).

There are lots of resources to help you and your class find out more about fungi – have a look at the links at the bottom of this page.


Here are a few examples of how fungi might fit the curriculum:

Originally designed as a day out to be lead by rangers or other outdoor education specialists, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Fungi’ is a full day of activities that introduces children to the kingdom of the fungi.

A full set of teacher's background notes with particular suggestions for classroom activities are available online at Fungi4Schools along with other useful classroom resources. These resources also include a simple yes/no key to commonly encountered fungi. All of this material can be freely downloaded. The key is also available in a different layout as one of the Field Studies Council 'Name Trail' keys.

Articles written for Field Mycology and Primary Science publications give more information about the structure and rationale of this activity day.

Other good classroom materials to help with studying fungi are available below under 'links' below. Try also a link to the British Mycological Society website for photos and other downloadable material.


Secondary Education

Fungi underpin the health of every natural habitat and are widely used in industry, including the production of important medicines (eg Statins, Cyclosporins and Penicillin based antibiotics), and many foodstuffs.

The British Mycological Society resource pack ‘Key Stages for Fungi’ although using the English education system as a basis for its title actually fits in extremely well with the Scottish curriculum and provides an excellent teaching resource. The worksheets are clear and the text is a good size. As it is also available on CD or online, material can be edited to suit different class requirements.

Try Funky Fungi Workshop notes as well.

For 16+ have a look at Post 16 Resources.

Links to Resources for Schools


Rangers and other educators

Fungi and the Scottish education system

As many of you will be aware, Scotland has a new Curriculum for Excellence which covers the education process from ages 3 to 18

The foundation of the Curriculum is the 'four capacities', which will enable children to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

There are 8 curriculum areas each of which has a number of outcomes and experiences that the learners must attain:

  • expressive arts
  • health and well being
  • languages
  • mathematics
  • religious and moral education
  • sciences
  • social studies
  • technologies


For more information visit the Learning and Teaching Scotland website.

Unlike the previous 5 - 14 Curriculum, there is no specific mention of fungi in the new Curriculum for Excellence. However because the new focus is the breadth of the curriculum rather than levels of specific knowledge, the fungi could easily be used as a topic that encompasses many of the curriculum areas.

‘The Good, The Bad and The Fungi’

This is a fun and interactive day out designed to be lead by rangers and other outdoor education specialists. The day aims to introduce the kingdom of the fungi to upper primary children by investigating what fungi are and why they are important in the natural world. There is no need for prior knowledge of fungal identification to make this a successful day.

A full set of leaders and teacher's background notes are available online at Fungi4Schools along with other useful resources. It also includes a simple yes/no key to commonly encountered fungi. All of this material can be freely downloaded. The key is also available in a different layout as one of the Field Studies Council 'Name Trail' keys.

Articles written for Field Mycology and Primary Science publications give more information about the structure and rationale of the activity d

Links:


Fungi – For Universities

This section to be developed

http://www.fungionline.org.uk/

















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