Skip to Content

Decomposers | Activity 5.1

Activity 5.1: Tracing the Processes of Fungi Growing: Digestion and Biosynthesis (40 min)

Students trace the processes involved in fungi growth, digestion, and biosynthesis, on the poster of a fungus.

Materials You Provide

Resources Provided


Print a Decomposer 11 x 17 Poster for each pair of students. Gather enough pennies and nickels to have 10 pennies for each pair of students and 3 nickels for each pair of students. Print one copy of 5.1 Tracing Atoms and Energy in Decomposers Worksheet for each student. Prepare a computer and a projector to display the PPT. Print and hang the Digestion and Biosynthesis 11 x 17 Posters and the Metabolic Pathways 11 x 17 Poster.


1. Have students start to think about how fungi grow.

Tell students that in today’s activity they will learn about how fungi grow through digestion and biosynthesis.



  • At the end of the activity, have students explain the difference between biosynthesis and digestion to a partner.
  • Have the students “act out” digestion and biosynthesis by assigning them molecules using signs. Have them move around the room to represent the two processes by linking and unlinking hands.

Extending the Learning

  • Listen to the National Geographic Podcast from the Encyclopedia of Life (
  • Unlike plants and animals, fungi do not have a vascular system to move materials long distances. Instead materials move long distances through fungal hyphae. This is accomplished by both pressurized bulk flow (similar to sap movement in the phloem of plants) and cytoplasmic streaming (similar to movement of materials within amoebas). You can show your students a video of hyphal cytoplasmic streaming here: