It started three weeks ago. The project; grow mold. That’s all they had to do.
And mold was what they grew! This was the first year everyone brought in mold. No one brought in store white bread that never molded. Sweet!
What was more surprising to me was the number of
parents students who already had something growing in their refrigerators when I assigned this experiment.
Sir Husband was about to throw out this old chunk of ginger, which was just starting to grow about two weeks before the project was due. He was smart enough to ask if I wanted to keep it. YES! He knows me so well! After a few weeks time, this is what it looked like.
Kind of pretty isn’t it. All fuzzy and white and soft. Do you want to hug it? Me either.
Even though it was a pretty mold, it’s smell was not pretty.
Actually this mold wasn’t the worst smelling specimen we had that day. This one was. I’m talking about the molded tomato and orange, not the boy. 😀
As we look at the mold under the microscope, I explain a little more about how it grows. Mold is a Fungi. It reproduces using spores, which are everywhere. For mold to grow, it requires a food source, moist area, and the right temperature. Actually mold can grow in just about any temp.
Mold can reproduce asexually by spores and stolon, and sexually by forming a zygote.
- Spores: Reproductive cell with a hard covering.
- Stolon: Aerial hypha that asexually reproduces more filaments.
- Zygote: an egg cell, produced when each parent contributes half of the DNA to produce a baby. A baby mold in this case.
With three ways of reproducing, it is no wonder that mold is quick to spread. I tell the students this, along with the fact that the major body part of Fungi is the mycelium hidden inside, let’s say bread, and only shows up when reproduction is being done. Who knows how many times they ate a slice of moldy bread and didn’t know it! I hear lots of ewwwww, GROSS, and barfing noices at this point.
What I like best about this class, it’s right before lunch. Bwhahahaha