Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about fungi (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Fungi are an incredibly exciting group of organisms that don’t always get the recognition they deserve. The largest organism on earth is a fungus: a specific honey fungus that measures 2.4 miles (3.8 km) across, which is found in the Blue Mountains of Oregon.
Fungi are sources of antibiotics and food. They play an incredibly important role in supporting plant growth by making nutrients, such as phosphates, available to plant roots. Fungi are also related to you – next time you eat a mushroom remember you are eating quite a close relative!
How closely related am I to a mushroom?
Use the time tree website to find out how closely related humans are to mushrooms. Show your students how many years ago humans and mushrooms shared a common ancestor. Students can look to see what cellular features fungal cells share with human cells. They can use this information to predict which features were present in the common ancestor of fungi and humans and identify how these features evolved after the two groups diverged.