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GK-12 Program


Food Web Lesson 3 - Decomposers

Developer's Name: Kimberley Maher Check all subject areas your lesson addresses. X Life Sciences Other (please specify) Select all grades / educational levels that apply to this lesson: XK X 1st X 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Physical Sciences Mathematics Earth Sciences

What is the objective of this Alaska Discovery Lesson? To explore mushrooms. Enter keywords that others can use to find your lesson in the TASK database. Use commas between keywords. Mushrooms, food web, decomposers, dissection Duration of lesson: 1 hours 30 minutes

What background or foundational information will a teacher need to have prior to this lesson? Review the basic stages and parts of the mushroom (mycelium, leg, cap, gills, spores); understand that a mushroom is the fruiting body of a fungus just as a tomato is the fruiting body of a tomato plant.

not applicable How does the lesson address/follow the learning cycle model? It contains an introduction, exploratory sections, and then an end discussion/conclusion.

List the Grade Level Expectation(s) from the June 2005 Alaska Content Standards addressed by this lesson. X not applicable How are School District curriculum guidelines addressed by this lesson? 1st grade science "identify the components of a simple food web" How does this lesson pertain to Alaska issues? Fungi are abundant decomposers in our forest ecosystems.

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List the supplies, materials and/or equipment needed to complete this lesson (consider consumables, non-consumables, locations, etc.)

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Book: "Katya's Book of Mushrooms" Store-bought white mushrooms (one for each student) A portabella mushroom (for a mushroom print) Plastic knives Paper Pencils In the following sections, briefly describe how your lesson fulfills each of the five stages of the Learning Cycle Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate). You may also wish to attach a lesson plan or other documentation to support your answers. ASK (Engage) What is the guiding question for this lesson? This question is the lesson title. What are decomposers and why are they important? What do they look like? What would the world look like if we didn't have decomposers? Write a brief rationale of the lesson. Why is this lesson relevant? Decomposers are an important part of the food web and ecosystem. Without them, biomass would continue to pile up around us. Decomposers recycle nutrients and make them available for plants to use them. These nutrients are then passed up the trophic levels to the animals that consume plants and lower level animals. Some mushrooms are quite a delicacy such as morels. INVESTIGATE (Explore) In this space, enter which resources learners will use to pursue the lesson. Include a brief overview, URL for an overview article, related readings (texts, slides, audio/video), websites for exploration and interaction, and/or resources and supplemental materials. Read sections of the book "Katya's Book of Mushrooms" to learn about how fungi grow, the parts of a mushroom, and the culture of mushroom hunting. CREATE (Explain) In this space, list activities learners might engage in while they conduct this lesson. Include in-class activities, activities in special settings, activities outside of class/independent work, and open-ended problems with creative extensions. Provide each student with a store-bought white mushroom. Have the student slice it in half with a plastic knife so that they can observe the profile of the cap with gills and the leg. Have the students draw the profile of the mushroom and label the parts. Allow the students to explore the mushroom by pulling out the gills and feeling them, breaking apart the cap and comparing how that is similar or different that the how the leg breaks apart. Students can then taste the mushroom and feel the texture in their mouth. Create a mushroom print with a portabella mushroom. Slice off the leg of the mushroom and place the cap gill-side down on a piece of white paper. Cover with plastic wrap and leave undisturbed over night. The spores will fall out of the gills and create a print on the paper. Take the students outside and search for other types of decomposers around the school--the forest is full of conk mushrooms, puffballs, and little parasol mushrooms; stress the importance of not

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eating mushrooms that you are not absolutely, complete sure what it is. Bring the decomposers back inside and compare. DISCUSS (Extend) In this space, list ways in which learners may share new ideas with others. Include face-toface dialogues, group dialogues, on-line dialogues, in-class discussions, and presentations. Students can discuss and share while dissecting the mushrooms; in addition they will brainstorm together why decomposers are important and how things would be different we if we didn't have decomposers. They will also share with each other their decomposer scavenger hunt. Which were the most common that they found? Where certain decomposers associated with certain things? REFLECT (Evaluate) Now learners step back and evaluate the lesson: Has a solution been found? Do new questions come to light? Could this lesson encourage further investigation, and in what directions? This space should include assessment of the lesson, related questions, and a summary (story) of the lesson. There is no particular solution to this lesson. The souvenir to the student is the diagram of the parts of the mushroom. This could lead to further investigations on growing fungus or the class writing a story (and illustrating) about what the world would look like if there were no decomposers to recycle nutrients.

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