Scientific Literacy

As a keen birdwatcher, Miss 5 knows the scientific names of a few of her favourite species.  The first one she learned was Trichoglossus haematodus – the scientific name for a Rainbow Lorikeet.  The second was the closely related Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus, or Scaly-breasted Lorikeet.  From this early introduction to scientific names, my daughter discovered that: Continue reading

Fantastic Fungus

This summer has been so damp here in Brisbane, and while the resulting mould inside the house is NOT fun, the fungi growing outside has been amazing!

The great thing about having multiple species in one area is that the kids have been able to compare them.  We’ve been able to talk about

  • colour
  • size
  • shape
  • smell

and identify similarities and differences.  We haven’t touched the fungi in our yard.  Many species are harmless, and most are only problematic if eaten, but I cannot guarantee that a 2yr old (or even a nature loving 4yr old) will keep hands away from little eyes and mouths.  I am particularly cautious with red and yellow species as these are often “danger” colours in the Australian bush.

My blogging friend and educator Juliet from Creative Star Learning in the UK has some thoughts on children and fungi, and whether or not kids should be encouraged to touch. Please note that her recommendations are for Scotland though and NOT for Australia.

Without doubt though, the best species we have had in our yard is this one below.  It is definitely from the Stinkhorn family (Phallaceae or Dictyophora of some kind I’m guessing).  Stinkhorns grow from a button just below the surface, and stink like rotting meat when they emerge!  Miss 4 can tell if one is around the second we walk outside.  Flies and other insects are attracted to the stinky slime and swarm around.  They aren’t small, yet seem to pop up over night. Absolutely fascinating.

What do you think about investigating fungi with kids? Does the idea interest you, or disgust you? Would you have called this post Fantastic Fungus, or Freaky Fungi?!!