Oyster cap mushrooms can easily be grown on clean, moistened toilet paper. This method is a good introduction to mycology, particularly for younger school pupils, because after the initial incubation the mushrooms appear within days. Investigations into the effect of light and ventilation on the shape of fruiting bodies can also be carried out.
Basic morphology of mushrooms, growth patterns and requirements. This work can be related to ecology and nutrient cycling, and lends itself to simple practical experiments.
Pre-knowledge and skills required by students
Knowledge of saprophytic mode of nutrition would be useful although not essential.
Time taken in lesson
Specialist equipment and materials required
Oyser mushroom 'spawn' (mycelium on sterilised cereal grain).
Context where originally used
Used with students aged 8–16.
The NCBE supplies oyster mushroom starter culture ('spawn') to schools and colleges in the UK. Similar arrangements may exist in other countries. Some students may be allergic to mushrooms and their spores.
NCBE, Science and Technology Centre
University of Reading
Copyright © Dean Madden 2007