Earth ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Oyster Mushroom Growing Kit
ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon
EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience
Students will grow oyster mushrooms in order to design and conduct investigations on their ability to absorb oil and other pollutants. They will also explore the role of mushrooms in providing eco-friendly packaging, products, foods, etc.
Students should be able to diagram or make a model that shows that mushrooms are fruiting bodies of an underground network of mycorrhizae connected to plant roots. Further, they should be able to explain that plant roots dump sugars into the soil , benefitting mycorrhizae AND that some mycorrhizae can infiltrate plants’ root cells and help themselves to the goodies there.
This excerpt from a TedTalk explains mycoremediation of oil spills, in less than 3 minutes. And This American Landfilm: Fabulous Filtering Fungi, tells the story of a class that inoculates straw with mushroom spores to absorb oily runoff from a road and stop a fish kill. The Educator Guide contains protocols for replicating this project.
Students may propose solutions and choose a project to do, such as filtering oil from runoff before it enters nearby creeks.