EDUO 9519: Exploring Plants & Fungi Using Experienced-Based Activities

Instructor: Ron Kremer

You must be currently teaching students to successfully complete this course.

EDUO 9519: Exploring Plants and Fungi with Experience-Based Activities emphasizes student interaction with concrete materials, encouraging hands-on exploration of concepts, constructing meaning and understanding. The students will be behaving as scientists: Exploring, comparing, measuring, observing, recording data, etc. Students will be engaged in experiments, model building, and art projects that reinforce the concepts. These interactive activities are consistent with common core standards and can easily be adapted to the needs of all students. (Most of the activities have extensions and modifications that allow the teacher to “tailor” the materials to the needs of their students.) The course is structured so that the teacher can choose the assignments they want to accomplish depending on the number of units they are taking (1, 2, or 3), or select the assignments most appropriate for the students they are teaching.

1 Credit/Unit – $135 (staff training assignment and prerequisite student activities, 2 major activities 2 extensions, 2 reflections)

2 Credits/Units – $270 (staff training assignment and prerequisite student activities, 4 major activities,  4 extensions, 4 reflections) 

3 Credits/Units – $405 (staff training component and prerequisite student activities, 6 major activities,  6 extensions, 6 reflections)


From the Instructor

Breathing air? Thank a plant! Just one tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Do you like cinnamon? It is just ground up tree bark. Ever been to the doctor and needed a penicillin shot? Thank a fungus! Penicillin is made from a type of green mold. Do you like cheese sandwiches? The cheese may have been aged with a fungus. The bread dough was leavened by yeast, a one-celled fungus.

This course emphasizes student interaction with concrete materials, encouraging hands-on exploration of concepts, constructing meaning by doing. The students will be behaving as scientists: exploring, comparing, measuring, observing, recording data, etc. Students will be involved in experiments, model building, and art projects that reinforce the concepts.

You may need to do some collecting of plant material from fields. You will need several plastic dishpans, and soil containers. Several observation activities will require hand magnifiers.

Many of the activities have extensions or modifications that allow the teacher to “tailor” the content to the needs of the students. If there is an activity that you wish to use, but it is at a level of difficulty not appropriate for your students the instructor will be pleased to help you modify that activity so that it is appropriate.

As children interact with concrete materials, exploring new concepts and acquire new insights, their apperceptive mass (the body of ideas that they know to be true because of direct experience) grows. This is the “heart” of authentic learning… the children are living what they are learning!

This style of teaching and learning…

  • takes more time than traditional instruction.
    moves the teacher from the center of attention. Instead of being the dispenser of knowledge the teacher becomes a resource person, enabling students to acquire knowledge through their own effort.
  • requires equipment and materials beyond the textbook.
  • thrives under the leadership of a patient, understanding administrator.

This course is appropriate for teachers of second grade through middle school, particularly teachers who respect children as learners and are accustomed to hands-on activities that may be a little messy and take more time than traditional lessons.

This course may not be appropriate for teachers who are apprehensive about relinquishing their authority as the dispenser of knowledge and are unwilling to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out together.”

Get your hands dirty along with your students and “dig” into a study of plants, from the tips of their roots to their flowering tops, collecting leaves along the way! Make spore prints from mushrooms. Collect, observe, and identify lichens. Explore these amazing life forms that have transformed our planet from a ball of rock into a diverse organic complex of biomes!

Course Overview

This course emphasizes student interaction with concrete materials, encouraging hands-on exploration of concepts,
constructing meaning and understanding. The students will be behaving as scientists: Exploring, comparing,
measuring, observing, recording data, etc. Students will be engaged in experiments, model building, and art
projects that reinforce the concepts.

Course Objectives:

The teacher will:

1. Collect materials needed for interactive activities (experiments, model building, and art projects)
2. Provide opportunities for students to engage in concrete, hands-on explorations
3. Guide students in the use of “scientific method” (observing, collecting data, looking for patterns, forming
hypotheses etc.)

Course Relation to CCS or other Professional Standards

This course aligns to the standards for: Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve:
Grade One
LS1.A: Structure and Function: Plants have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive.
Grade Two
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Plants depend on water and light to grow.
Grade Three
LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience: For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Grade Four
LS1.A: Structure and Function: Plants… have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
Grade Five
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead
organisms (both plant or plant parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil.

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  • Price: $135 - $405
  • 1-3 Semester Credits/Units
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Instructor: Ron Kremer

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