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Mushroom Management Steps for Successful Group Projects By: Tricia Moore Kathy Stemmler Kristen Moorhead Mushroom Management

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Mushroom ManagementSteps for Successful Group Projects

By:

Tricia Moore

Kathy Stemmler

Kristen Moorhead


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Mushroom Management

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

  • Arouse interest and desire to learn

  • Help students want to invest energy in solving a problem

2. Feed ‘em manure

  • Carefully plan to provide necessary materials, resources, tools, and experiences

3. Stand back and watch ‘em grow

  • Give students time; trust that you have provided the right “fertilizer”; resist the urge to solve the problem for them; be available to serve as coach and facilitator

4. Chop off their heads and ship ‘em

  • Plan a culminating activity that brings the pieces together: students present their projects and receive feedback


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Mushroom Management: Advantages

Process/problem-centered as opposed to content centered

Encourages higher-order thinking

Motivates and engages students

Encourages students to self-assess


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Mushroom Management for Dental Hygiene Studentsby Tricia Moore

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.


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Mushroom Management for Middle School Earth Scienceby Kristen Moorhead

  • Put Them in the Dark:

    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.

  • Feed Them Manure:

    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.

  • Stand Back and Watch Them Grow:

    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.

  • Chop Off Their Heads and Ship Them:

    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.


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Mushroom Management for Economics/ Government by Kathy Stemmler

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?


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Tricia’s Reflections

  • It was not easy to think of appropriate mushroom projects

  • I really like the idea of letting students learn by doing themselves. I believe it is important to provide scaffolding and check in with them along the way (watch them grow) to be sure they are making best use of the resources (be sure the manure you have provided is what they need)

  • I need to worry less about a good product and more about students learning the process

  • What fun to learn how to add all of the sounds and animations to a PowerPoint project and to combine ideas with colleagues


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Kristen’s Reflections

  • Creating a presentation on mushroom management has been fun and challenging. Finding mushrooms was fun. Who knew there was a plethora of mushroom clip art on the web.

  • Developing a mushroom management lesson for a classroom and succinctly explaining it on one slide was challenging.

  • The process of creating this presentation collaboratively was fun, because my colleagues’ creativity stretched my thinking and abilities.


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Kathy’s Reflections

  • This project-based, problem-centered alternative approach to teaching grabs students immediately and encourages them to design their own learning to solve real problems.

  • This presentation is exciting and a joy to participate in with highly motivated, creative group members who know where to find the best graphics and lay them out!

  • The subject matter is a teaching model that needs additional research and clarification. I could find little at either the Cline library or online except for information on the traditional “negative” mushroom management style found in business climates.


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Mushroom ManagementReferences

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