Question Sheet: Fungus Hunt


Before reading:

  1. Describe what makes something a mushroom.
  2. Name five different ways in which people eat mushrooms.

During reading:

  1. Where is the Bell Museum of Natural History located? See

    (University of Minnesota).

  2. List the basic traits of mushrooms.
  3. How are mushrooms related to fungi? See
  4. Why are scientists piecing together the last 40 years of mushroom studies?
  5. What possible medical uses exist for porcini mushrooms? See

    (University of Minnesota).

After reading:

  1. What is a mycologist?
  2. Why do scientists classify plants and animals into species and other groupings? See Institute).
  3. Why do you think scientists are still finding new varieties of fungi?
  4. How does classifying fungi help scientists determine how fungi developed over the course of evolution?
  5. From the list of edible mushrooms at, pick one type of mushroom that’s unfamiliar to you. Find out more about it. What does it look like? How is it cooked? What is its flavor like?
  6. What types of mushrooms do you find commonly growing in the area where you

    live? Identify as many as you can.

  7. Why can mushroom hunting be dangerous? What are some useful safety rules to

    keep in mind? See (Wikipedia).


Mushrooms have been used to poison a number of prominent people throughout history. One such person was the Roman emperor Claudius. When did Claudius live? Who poisoned him? Why? See (BBC).


  1. What might a day in the life of a “curator of fungi” at a museum be like? Write a paragraph that such a person might write in his or her daily journal. See of California, Berkeley).
  2. Imagine how the world might be different if all fungi suddenly disappeared from Earth. Write a short story that illustrates a possible effect of such a disappearance.


A chef is creating a special pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives. She uses three fewer slices of pepperoni than black olives and three times as many black olives as mushrooms. If she puts 16 mushrooms on the pizza, how many slices of pepperoni will she need?