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Agriculturalists have long considered mushroom growing a challenge, largely because you need a piece of benchtop equipment known as a laminar flow hood. In this activity, learners make their own "hood" (similar to a laboratory laminar flow hood) out of a household air purifier to replicate a clean-room environment. Then learners use basic kitchen techniques to culture and grow mushrooms. Learners are encouraged to keep a journal throughout the experiment so that they can repeat successful processes. This guide contains tips about mushroom growing as well as ideas for equipment alternatives.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • drill
  • hobby knife
  • journal
  • keyhole saw or jigsaw
  • latex gloves
  • mason jar
  • pen
  • spray bottle
  • stockpot
  • stove
  • air purifier
  • silicone caulk
  • agar (seaweed gelatin, a.k.a. agar agar)
  • calcium carbonate (Tums tablet)
  • labels
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • cotton balls or cut up sponge pieces
  • plastic container, small, transparent, with lid (like the kind fresh salsa comes in or use lab-standard petri dishes)
  • growing substrate (such as sawdust)
  • mushroom
  • plastic file box
  • aluminum foil
  • soapy water
  • bleach-and-water solution


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Agricultural Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Protists and Fungi
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Gardening
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Ross, Philip


  • All rights reserved, Make Projects, 2011