Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Fungi week 4

Today's themes: "Where Are Fungi Found?" and "Fermented Foods"

during the school day -

  • make the Dutch Baby recipe using our Amish Friendship Bread Starter

      This was delicious! I doubled it, so we made 24 (I followed the muffin pan suggestion; this made it so easy to portion individual servings for the children). We had fresh raspberries and blueberries on top.

  • during Science Club -

  • review the Three Questions for determining whether something is a Fungus

  • look at the Biome Map of the World, review the 8 biomes on this map, assign one biome per student (or pair) and ask them to fill out an index card

      side 1: name of biome

      side 2: do you think Fungi are found in this biome? why or why not?

    When they shared their responses, some very interesting questions arose. In order to decide if a biome would be hospitable to Fungi, you naturally have to think about the requirements a Fungus needs to survive.

    They had questions about temperature sensitivity (what would be too hot? too cold?), moisture requirements (what would be too wet? too dry?), and respiration (does it take in oxygen like animals? carbon dioxide like plants?). How interesting! I hadn't thought about fungal respiration until now!

    This "does every biome contain Fungi?" question came into my mind recently because we've been working our way through the Biomes of North America three part cards as part of our Native American Legends block. For each biome there are plant and animal cards in our nomenclature, but no fungi! Maybe we can create some!

    Here are their initial predictions:

      Ocean - no... too much water and no dry land

      Polar Regions - no... because it's too cold

      Temperate Forests - yes... we live in this biome and we see them

      Deserts - no... no water in the desert

      Grasslands - yes... because it has a suitable habitat (water, shelter, not too hot or too cold) and it has fewer predators

      Mountains - no... because there isn't enough water or oxygen and it's too cold

      Tropical Forests - yes, because there is lots of water and trees; no, because there's too much water and they might drown

      Wetlands - yes... it has acceptable temperature and water

  • recall that there were questions last week about the relative size of cells and atoms; read The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey by Jason Chin

  • look at the "Life-Forms of the Invisible World" and "A Comparison of Sizes" illustrations from pages 14-15 of The Living Earth Vol. 5: Invisible World; if an amoeba (whch is really 500 millionths of a meter) were as big as a house, a single organism of yeast -- to scale -- would be the size of a tennis ball

  • consider two other places fungi may be found... the human microbiome and the air around us

    discuss how someone makes a sourdough starter from scratch (by capturing wild yeast from the air), and list all the fermented foods children can think of (wine, beer, mead, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, cheese); recall that we made a sourdough starter for Science Club: Microbiology in 2019 with help from Ms. Shelby (and jasmine ginger kombucha with help from Ms. Jamie!)

      our sourdough starter, "Newt"
  • explain today's Fermentation activities: fermented chick feed (for the baby chick) and Beet Kvass (for our end-of-school party, the Fungi Fun Day)

  • project 1: start the fermented chick feed

    project 2: start the Beet Kvass

    If you're interested in more Fun with Fermentation, here are books I like:

    Starter Sourdough:
    The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters, Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More

    by Carroll Pellegrinelli

    Kombucha Crafter's Logbook:
    A Journal to Track and Record Your Kombucha Home Brews

    by Angelica Kelly

    Super Easy Vegan Cheese Cookbook:
    70 Delicious Plant-Based Cheeses

    by Janice Buckingham

    The Cultured Club:
    Fabulous Fermentation Recipes

    by Dearbhla Reynolds

    This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

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