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Mushroom Management is a learning structure for organizing classroom instruction around a problem-centered curriculum.It is characterized by four phases of instruction:
1. Put ‘em in the dark
2. Feed ‘em manure
3. Stand back and watch ‘em grow
4. Chop off their heads and ship ‘em
Process/problem-centered as opposed to content centered
Encourages higher-order thinking
Motivates and engages students
Encourages students to self-assess
Put ‘em in the dark
Problem: Show students a controversial ad (for example: Rinsing with Listerine is better than using dental floss)
Feed ‘em manure
Provide students with resources (articles, search strategies etc) that will give them background knowledge to understand the issues involved (for example: characteristics of plaque biofilms, effective methods of plaque removal, research methods, other abstracts and articles on flossing or rinsing)
Stand back and watch ‘em grow
Let them ask questions, find answers, compare studies, analyze data, methods etc.
Chop off their heads and ship ‘em
Invite a sales representative from the company (Listerine) and let the students ask questions. They can then write reflections about what they learned and how it will affect the decisions they make in practice.
Introduce students to several unusual rocks. Ask students what they notice about the objects. Ask students what information they might want in order to find out more about where the rocks came from and why they look the way they do.
During this phase, student will learn how to find out more about rocks through learning about various rock test and what those tests tell students. For example, students will learn that applying hydrochloric acid to a rock can tell you if the acid fizzes, the rock contains calcite.
Student use the tools, techniques, and knowledge they learn in the “feed them manure” phase to categorize a variety of rocks as sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous rocks. They will justify their findings using evidence at a class science conference.
Finally, student will go on a field trip to the Grand Canyon. With the aid of the guide, students will use their tools and techniques in the field to identify rocks that make up different layers of the canyon. After identifying most of the rocks as sedimentary, students will use this information to develop a theory of how Grand Canyon was formed.
You and your family have just won 4 million dollars from a lottery ticket Santa put in your 4 year-old sister’s Christmas stocking. What kinds of experiences and choices will you and your family have to make quickly?
Norton, P. (1992) When Technology Meets the Subject-Matter Disciplines in Education Part Three: Incorporating the Computer as Method. Educational Technology 22(8), 35-44.
Kidder, J.T. (1981) The Soul of New Machine. Little, Brown and company, Boston.
A Summary of Mushroom Management. Retrieved February 22, 2003, from http://dana.ucc.nau.edu/~tmh37/Web Wizard/MM/mmusm.html
Stoehr, H. (2001). Mushroom Management. Retrieved February 22, 2003, from http://dana.ucc.nau.edu/~has22/Mushroom/MM.htm