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Activity 5.4: Explaining How Fungi Grow: Biosynthesis (40 min)

Target Student Performance

Students explain how matter moves and changes and how energy changes during biosynthesis in a mushroom’s cells.

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Print one copy of the 5.4 Explanations Tool for Fungi Biosynthesis, and the 5.4 How do Decomposers Grow? Reading (if you are using it) for each student. Prepare a computer and a projector to display the PPT. Print and hang the Digestion and Biosynthesis 11 x 17 Posters. In this activity, your students will need to use the Three Questions Explanation Checklist on the back of the Three Questions Handout. Be sure to have this available to students, and see the notes in the Modifications at the end of the Activity for ideas about how to use it.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


Use 5.4 Grading the Explanations Tool for Fungi Biosynthesis to grade student responses. This worksheet has “grading” in the title (instead of “assessing”) because at this point, students can be held accountable for correct answers. If students are still struggling with these concepts, you may want to revisit parts of the activity they are finding difficult. Use the Assessing the Decomposers Matter Tracing Tool to assess the tool.

  • You may want students to first complete the front side of the Explanations Tool with the graphic organizer and check it together as a class to confirm that the arrows and responses to the prompts are correct. Then, students can use the corrected graphic organizer as a tool to construct their written explanation.
  • After students complete the Decomposers Matter Tracing Tool, post in the classroom so students can refer back to it
  • Encourage students to explain verbally as well as writing on the Matter Tracing Tool
  • Refer to the word wall for questions on Biosynthesis related vocabulary
  • Provide sentence stems to help students answer questions on Big Idea Probe: Leaf Pack Experiment?

The Three Questions Explanation Checklist on the back of the Three Questions Handoutcan be used to scaffold students’ explanations in many ways.

  • Students refer to the checklist as they are constructing their explanations.
  • Students use the checklist as they are sharing and revising their explanations with a partner.
  • Students use the checklist to critique and revise their final explanations.
  • Students use the checklist to critique the example explanations for each unit.
  • Students use the checklist to create and/or evaluate a whole-class consensus explanation.

We recommend using this checklist with a gradual release. As students improve in their ability to write their own explanations, they may rely on the checklist less.

Extending the Learning