Taxonomy of Fungi (Part 1/2)

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Students will use information about particular species of fungus to determine the defining characteristics of a phylum.

Big Idea

How do taxonomists know into which phyla to place individual species? Find out today.

What Students will Learn Today

1 minutes

Today each student in class will research a species of fungus using guidelines provided by the teacher.  They will prepare a powerpoint and present their findings to their classmates.  Next, students that have fungus in the same phylum will discuss what characteristics their species have in common in order to determine the definition of a phylum.  Representatives for student groups will summarize their findings for the class. This is the first day of a two-day lesson. Day two can be found at this link.  Here is an overview of what students will learn today.

Hook/Check For Understanding

5 minutes

Have students watch the following clip for National Geographic-Kingdom of The Forest - Fungi

Ask them to consider how they would describe the general body plan of a fungus.  Have them write their ideas in their lab notebook and include a sketch.  (Note: They should realize that the general body plan of a fungus should include: a fruiting body, hyphae, and mycelium.)

Using the Frayer method, define fungus.  

Student Webquest

30 minutes

Using this rubric, students should search the Internet and create a short powerpoint to present to their peers.  I have all students start at the Backyard Fungi and then refine their searches as necessary.  (Note: The Backyard Fungi website describes 24 common fungi which is more than enough for a class to research.  I randomly draw students' name and then let them pick the fungus that interests them.  I do not allow my students to choose the same fungus.  For large class, one could pair students together and then have them present together.)

Once each student chooses a fungal species from the list on Backyard Fungi.  They can begin their Internet search.  After reading all the information on the Backyard Nature website,  students can perform a keyword search to find other resources to create their five slide powerpoint.  After a title slide that contains an image of their fungus, the next slide should explain the phylum to which their species is assigned.  They should explain three characteristics that are unique to that phylum.  Next,they should show an image of their fungus and label the fruiting body, mycelium, and hyphae. (Note: They may have to draw in the mycelium as many images of fungi only contain the fruiting body.) Students will next describe the reproductive cycle and the life cycle.  They may want to use the same image for both slides.  Finally, students should present two fun facts about their species. All sources should be cited correctly on the resources slide.  

While students completing their research and constructing their powerpoint, place large labels of the seven phyla around the room. (Note:  The seven phyla in the Kingdom Fungi include Basidomycota, Ascomycota, Zygomycota, Deuteromycota, Glomeromycota, Chytridiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, and Neocallimastigomycota. These labels will be a gathering place for teams in a future part of this lesson.) Then, move about the room answering specific questions and giving advice regarding the validity of sources. Remind students to properly cite their sources and not simply include the URL of the webpage they are visiting.  

Student Presentations

30 minutes

Each student will individually describe their fungus in a three to five minute presentation. For the presentation, students will be evaluated on their demeanor, their transitions between slides, and their basic knowledge of their fungus. 

Students that are not presenting should record take notes over each individual student presentation in their lab notebook. Non-presenters should note the fungus, phylum, and one fun fact about the fungus. (Note: To help with spelling of the phyla, I give students a list with seven phyla in the Kingdom Fungi.  These would include Basidomycota, Ascomycota, Zygomycota, Deuteromycota, Glomeromycota, Chytridiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, and NeocallimastigomycotaHere are two examples of student powerpoints:  Bread Mold and Cantharellus cibarius).

Student Discussion: Phylum Construction

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, students will work in assigned groups that are based on the phylum of their assigned fungus. After the presentations are complete, students should move to the phyla label in which their fungus belong. Give each group a large piece of paper with their phylum name at the top.  Within their groups, students should discussed what general characteristics all fungus in their phylum have in common.  Together, they should make a list of four to five general characteristics and record it on the large piece of paper. When they are done, students should choose a spokesperson to explain the general characteristics of their phylum.  



Putting It All Together: How Phyla are Determined

5 minutes

Ask students to return to their seats. Have each phylum spokesperson present their findings.  (Note: I have the phylum spokespeople present in alphabetical order.) When they are done, display their characteristics poster in the room.  (Note: it will be used in tomorrow's lesson.)

Have students record the lists of the additional phyla in their lab notebooks.