Fungi, mushrooms and ethnomycology


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


75- 150 minutes – time may vary dependent on optional activities


Vocabulary and historical events key to mycology are provided in a slide presentation. Students learn more about mycology through videos and activities, including mushroom dissection, crossword puzzle, word journal and actual or virtual collection of mushrooms. Academic vocabulary is at the 7th grade level. The lesson ends with a game and an optional virtual field trip to a mushroom farm.


Presentation on Fungi and Indigenous Peoples Use of Mushrooms

Introduce vocabulary, mycology, and Indigenous cultures and histories of the usage of fungi with this slide presentation on fungi and Indigenous peoples use of mushrooms. The same presentation as a PowerPoint is found here.

Mushrooms on the Warm Springs reservation

VIDEO: Fungi Lesson for Kids & Crossword Puzzle

First, pass out this crossword puzzle. Let students know that the answers to the crossword are in this video. It’s a great way to get your students to pay close attention to the video and retain the information.

ANSWER KEY FOR CROSSWORD PUZZLE – I apologize for my poor handwriting.

Fungi Lesson for Kids (7:36) is a resource from the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History that introduces students to fungi structure, growth and variety.

Complete word journal with new vocabulary

Students add words or terms with which they are unfamiliar to their word journal. Some teachers call it a personal dictionary, to others it’s a word journal. Regardless, the goal is the same, for students to record new words, give a dictionary definition and “make the word their own”. This can be done by rewriting the definition in their own words, using the word in a sentence or including an illustration of the word.

Two dictionary sites to recommend for definitions are below. An added bonus to mention to students is that they can hear words pronounced.

Since students often ask for an example, here is an example you can link in your lesson

The personal dictionary assignment, with all links, can be found here. Feel free to copy and paste into your Google Classroom or other site, or print out for your class.

Be Naturalist: Dissect a mushroom

  • WATCH AND LEARN: Mushroom Dissection: Have students watch the mushroom dissection video from the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History as preparation for the mushroom dissection activity. (7:40) Inform students if they have not been able to solve the crossword puzzle, they may find the answers in this video.

Mycology Workbook

The instructions below can be copied and pasted in Google Classroom or other CMS.

  1. Students can choose between making a mycology journal out of construction paper, notebook paper, and drawing paper stapled together or an individual or collaborative digital mycology document using Google Docs.
  2. Find and identify at least 8 mushroom species.
    1. WALKING TOUR: If you live in an area known for mushroom fruiting and it’s fall or spring, there will be a good chance of mushrooms. Students can sketch mushrooms they find or take a picture of them with a phone or an iPad to include in Google Docs or print out and paste into their workbook.
    2. VIRTUAL TOUR: If you don’t have an area to walk to find mushrooms, search the internet for types of mushrooms you can include in your workbook. Here is a good place to start.

Differentiated Instruction: Extra activities to make science fun.

Play Making Camp: Deer and Salmon

Students can play Making Camp: Deer and Salmon modules for 15 minutes. (Game will be available Fall, 2022). The following instructions can be copied into Google Classroom, pasted into a Zoom chat or given in class.

Visit the Games Portal for Kids and select this game


Play through until you reach the LIFE tab and select the GATHERING tab. It is the one that matches the icon at right.

Optional: Virtual Field Trip to a Mushroom Farm

This virtual field trips is to R & R Cultivation (34 minutes) will teach students about the process of growing mushrooms. We bet at least one or two facts about mushroom farming will come as a big surprise. They will also discover many different types of mushrooms.


This lesson includes five forms of assessment

  1. Crossword puzzle, matching words to definitions.
  2. Word journals are graded based on correct or incorrect definition. 
  3. Mycology workbooks are graded based on the number of species identified.
  4. Mushroom sketches based on dissection.
  5. Making Camp Deer & Salmon Reports (Coming Soon)

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