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Elementary Science Education

Diversity of fungi and their role in nature

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      Bernard Nebel

      Fungi and bacteria are a commonly overlooked part of every ecosystem, but ecosystems would not be sustainable without them. Invite kids to consider and discuss the role they may play. They are responsible for breaking down dead plant and animal material to the original chemical elements that can be reabsorbed by plants and thus recycled. (See the text.) Hence, fungi and bacteria are commonly referred to as decomposers. Mushrooms are the most commonly recognized form of fungi, but they come in numerous other shapes as well. Let kids see photos. Type into your browser: “images different kinds of fungi”, and point out: shelf or bracket fungi, morels, puffballs, stinkhorns, molds, and so on. Look for these on nature walks. (Please post questions)

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