Fungi Lab


     What conditions does fungi grow? Decomposers are organisms, often a bacterium, mold, or fungus, that feed on and break down dead plant or animal matter, thus making organic nutrients available to the ecosystem.  Fungi, for example, with the help of enzymes will decompose decaying matter while feasting on the nutrients of that substance. This is why that most fungi are useful because without them, the biomass would be crowded with dead matter. The organisms of the fungal lineage include mushrooms, rusts, smuts, puffballs, truffles, morels, molds and yeasts. More than 70,000 species of fungi have been described; however, some estimates of total numbers suggest that 1.5 million species may exist. Fungal spores are all around us all the time, floating in the air and attached to everything. When they land on food for example, the spores can eventually grow into fungal fruit bodies, causing the food to decay or go moldy (mold is a type of fungi) especially in the presents of warm, dark, and moist environments.  Spices (ie garlic, allspice, and cinnamon) can be effective antifungal agents in foods and that it may have just been coincidental that adding spices for taste helped with preventing illnesses. The hypo-thesis for this lab is that fungi can be used to better understand of how environments are influenced by decomposers.








Sliced Bread [must be “fresh” / white] (2 per group)

Sandwich Zip-Lock Bags (2 per group)

Spray Bottle(s) with Water only

Fresh Ground Cinnamon


Refrigerator / Incubator / Light-Dark Area



Preparation: Part I




* The idea is to create a lab that someone else can “replicate”.

* After having your template checked, create a “shared” document. 

* Members in your group are to use the “template” provided to develop a draft of the lab.

* Everything between the items being tested is to remain the “same”, “except” for what is being tested.

* Follow all “suggestions and guidelines” including the lab to be doubled spaced, 12 font and no pronouns.  


1.      Choose and write down only one (1) of the following “Problem Questions” conditions to be tested:


§  Does being in a wet (sprayed with water) or in a dry (not sprayed with water) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in a warm no light (incubator) or in a cool no light (refrigerator) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in a lighted (classroom) or in a darkened (store room / closet) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in spice (cinnamon stick powder) or in a spice free (no cinnamon powder) environment make a difference in fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in air (blown in with a straw) or in a no air (drawn out with a straw) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?







2.      Research creditable Background about the problem question on your own; nothing to write on “this” lab.


3.      State a proper “Hypothesis” based off your problem question and research.


4.      List the “Materials” (everything, prioritize, quantity, detailed, metric)


5.      Provide the “Steps” (numbered, complete sentences, proper grammar, detailed, metric)


Procedure: Part II


6.      If not done yet, get “approval” by having the instructor review the format of the draft. 


7.      Conduct the experiment based on your initial materials and steps.  Make note of any updates or changes to the materials and steps, and then make those corrections on the created shared document when you are completed with this part.


      Note: Unless the experiment is dry vs wet, spray all bread equally with the same amount of water.


      Note: All bread is to be sealed in a sandwich bag due fungi spore contamination.  


      Note: Wash hands with soap prior to touching bread.  




Results and Conclusion:  Part III


8.   Provide a “Results” paragraph(s) of the lab findings:


·         Qualitative: Use descriptive and detailed explanations (complete sentences, proper grammar, and no “it”, pronouns or proper names).

                     - Nothing about hypothesis, materials, steps, feels or opinions; just the facts


·         Quantitative: Use of number(s), percentage(s), fraction(s), etc. to explain your findings.

                       - Mathematical means of explaining your data.


·         Illustrative: Use of a graph/table/picture to highlight one’s findings. (Optional)

                     - Must be recognized by using, ie. (See Figure) and include a description under the illustration.


9.   Write a “Conclusion” paragraph for the lab:


·         Restate “your” problem question (?)


·         Restate “your” hypothesis.


·         Was “your” hypothesis supported or refuted?  If refuted, tell WHY; not “because”?                                                  


·         What unforeseen event(s) happened?  


·         What improvement(s) could have been made?  


·         State a “springboard question” (followed by a question mark)  


10.  * Review “requirements” for each section of the lab.

       * Review “rubric” prior to sharing document; tbd.

       * Peer Review: You may be asked to share your lab and results in class (tba)


Grade Boost Option


Provide a picture/illustration/graph/table neatly and professionally inserted at the end of the lab. Be sure to include a brief description below the picture/illustration/graph/table.






Fungi: Decomposer Lab Rubric


 Scientific Method












(No Background Required)

Did not select a problem question

Did select a problem question but not as stated/ required

Did select a problem question but not state the problem as a question (?)

Did select a problem question and stated the problem properly








Not testable and is in a question form

An educated  idea without much testability

A fair  and testable  guess and/ or not in a statement form

A specific statement that can be tested; not a prediction 





Procedure: Materials


No or very little materials given

No quantity

No metric                                

Not enough materials listed and little quantity of items given; poor detail

Most materials listed and with quantity of items;

lacks some detail, in metric

All materials listed, quantity; prioritized, detailed, metric; not numbered



Procedure: Steps


Not sequential, most steps are missing or are confusing

Some of the steps understandable; most are confusing

Most of the steps understandable; some lack detail or are confusing

Easy-to-follow steps; logical /de-tailed; complete sentences





No or very little data mentioned

Little to some data described and/or mentioned mathematically

Fair amount of qualitative as wells as quant- itative descript-tions mentioned

Very descriptive qualitatively and excellent explan-ations quantit- atively; metric  





0-2 out of 6 requirements

are properly mentioned

3-4 out of 6 requirements

are properly mentioned

5 out of 6 requirements

are properly mentioned

6 out of 6 requirements

are properly mentioned



Grammar and Spelling

Frequent errors, and or personal pronouns


More than two errors ;and/or personal pronouns or “its”

Only one or two errors;  align-ment, personal pronouns, “its”

Grammar and spelling are correct; no per-sonal pronouns or “its”



Organized and Clean


No organization


Area in lab not clean

Poorly organized and area not too clean. Did not stay on task.

Fairly organized; however, area was kept clean and neat

Well organized;  

Area clean and neatly taken care of





Total disregard and waste of class time for lab creation

Many delays in getting lab ready, gathering items, and being on task

Some delay in doing lab and getting materials, and being on task

Doing lab, get-ting materials, and performing lab. On task



General Professionalism




  Thoughtful and





  Thoughtful and





  Thoughtful and





  Thoughtful and











Fungi: Decomposer Lab Template

 Note: See Lab Directions for Details on Completing the Following


Title, School Name, First/Last Name(s), Full Date






“Word for Word from Lab as Directed with a “question mark” at the End”




“Normally Information about Your Topic Would be Here; However, for this Lab Just Research Problem Question

Prior to Stating Your Hypothesis / Nothing to Write” 



“A Specific Statement that Can be Tested”; Note: Follow Rules (see Lecture Notes) When Creating




Materials: (everything, prioritize, quantity, detailed, metric)



Steps: (numbered (ie. 1., 2., 3., etc…), complete sentences, proper grammar (NO “it” or pronouns (ie You, Me, I, etc…)), detailed, metric)



“” Qualitative and Quantitative”, Complete Sentences, Proper Grammar, Detailed, Metric”

[Add (See Figure) if Doing Optional Illustrative Grade Boost Option]




“Use the 6 (six) Guidelines”