This podcast about fungi explores a life form that's all around us, yet rarely seen. Working under cover, it sends its ghostly tendrils into almost every corner of the terrestrial world. We associate it with death and decay, but life as we know it would be impossible without it. Come for a walk in the woods with Ari Daniel Shapiro and learn how this mysterious form of life, neither animal nor vegetable, shapes our world.
Strategies for Using EOL Podcasts in a Variety of Learning Environments
- Play the first fifteen seconds of the podcast and then pause it. Invite students to try and answer the riddle before playing the rest.
- Have students write down terms they are unfamiliar with while listening to the podcast. Then define them as a group, afterwards.
- Have students close their eyes and visualize what is being discussed in the podcast. Then have them produce a sketch based on their interpretations.
- Have students preview several of the podcasts found on the Encyclopedia of Life site and choose the one they find most interesting. Have students research the species or species group and present to their peers.
- Pose an open-ended question before students listen to the podcast, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.
- Have students determine what they think the key message of this podcast is. Was the host effective in getting his or her message across?
What part of a fungus is the mushroom?
What is the relationship between fungi and plants?
Why might an ecologist like Lynn Body spend her time studying fungi?
For Further Exploration
- National Geographic News: "Zombie Ant" Fungus Under Attack—By Another Fungus
- National Geographic News: "Zombie" Ants Bite at High Noon, Then Die
- National Geographic News: Weird & Wild: "Spongebob" Mushroom Named
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry decompose Verb
to decay or break down.
scientist who studies the relationships between organisms and their environments.
fungi Plural Noun
(singular: fungus) organisms that survive by decomposing and absorbing nutrients in organic material such as soil or dead organisms.
(plural: mycelia) vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like, tubular filaments.
scientist who studies fungi.
study of fungi.
symbiotic relationship between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant.
substance an organism needs for energy, growth, and life.
Encyclopedic Entry: nutrient organism Noun
living or once-living thing.
organism that produces its own food through photosynthesis and whose cells have walls.