Fuzzy Math and the Buzz on the Fuzz
Can you stop the spread of Fuzzy Mud before it’s too late? Learn about slime molds, alternative fuels, exponential growth, and turtles as you explore the world of Louis Sachar’s new book Fuzzy Mud with us. Here, you can experiment with the strange properties of slime mold, play a game to stop the Fuzzy Mud, and watch expert videos on alternative fuels and turtles with experts from Argonne National Laboratory and The Midwest Museum of Natural History. Let’s jump in and get muddy!
Fuzzy Mud: Slime Mold Map Lesson Plan
Grade Levels: 6-8
In this lesson students will participate in a life sciences lab inspired by the book Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar. In the book, an organism engineered from slime mold escapes containment, causing an epidemic. For this lab, a cultured slime mold, physarum polycephalum, will be placed on a map of the United States. A food source will be positioned over major US cities. As the slime mold grows over 2 to 3 days, it will create an efficient network between the food sources, mimicking the interstate road network between major cities. An additional slime mold will be placed at the center of a circle. Around the circle will be several different types of food sources. The students will hypothesize about which food the slime mold will prefer and can make observations over 2 to 3 days. The lesson will conclude with a written analysis of the hypothesis and observations.
Ask your parent or guardian to visit a wooded park or nature preserve, or take a look in your back yard. Walk around and try to find slime molds. Slime molds grow on dead trees, leaves, and in the woods in cool moist places. They can be bright green, yellow, orange, or even deep purple, and can look like lace, goo, or fuzz. When you find a slime mold, take a picture of it. Then go online to try to identify the slime molds that you find.
We would love to see your slime mold! Send your pictures to email@example.com.