Grade: 3-5
Subject: Science

#1045. Science Play: The Trial of Freddie Fungus

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Apr 26 14:59:41 PDT 1999 by Brian Beckenstein (
Igo, Foxborough
Materials Required: costumes
Concepts Taught: decomposers - ecosystem - drama

Freddie Fungus Page 1

Lawyer: "Freddie Fungus, you have been accused by Widow sycamore of killing her husband, Jeremiah Sycamore (hold up picture).
You were found at the scene of the crime and your fingerprints were found all over Jeremiah.
How do you plea?"

Freddie: "Not guilty."

(3 chants of "Guilty!" from the crowd).

Lawyer: "Order in the court!
Let's get to the bottom of this mystery.
Freddie, can you tell the court exactly what is a fungus?"

Freddie: "I am a decomposer.
I live off of dead animals and plants.
I help create new soil.
If I was not present, dead plants and animals would never decompose.
We would be up to our necks in dead things. Yuck!"

Lawyer: "Freddie, how long have you known Jeremiah Sycamore?"

Freddie: "Many years ago, when I was just a spore,
I landed on his bark and found a nice place to live."

Lawyer: "Why did you choose to land on Jeremiah?"

Freddie: "He seemed to be very ill.
As a fungus, I grow on dying plants.
I'm only doing my job!"
Widow Sycamore Page 2

Lawyer: "Thank you Freddie (Freddie exits).
I would now like to call Widow Sycamore to the stand.
Widow Sycamore, you accuse Freddie Fungus of killing your husband, Jeremiah Sycamore.
Why do you believe he is the killer?"

Widow: "I have seen Freddie Fungus growing on Jeremiah for two years.
When Freddie came, Jeremiah's been sick.
That Freddie killed my husband!

Lawyer: "Was Jeremiah old?"

Widow: "Well, ...yes."

Lawyer: "Did Jeremiah ever show any signs of aging
or being sick?"

Widow: "Well...he did say that he was not feeling well
and I did see some of his branches falling off."

Lawyer: "Would you say that Jeremiah was ill,
in fact, dying for the past two years?"

Widow: "Yes - and it's all because of Freddie Fungus!"

Lawyer: "Calm down, Mrs. Sycamore.
Maybe Jeremiah was just getting sick.
Remember, fungus only grow on things that are dying."

Widow: "Oh, I don't know. (weeping)
All I know is that my poor Jeremiah is gone."

Vera Violet Page 3

Lawyer: " Thank you, Widow Sycamore.
I would now like to call Vera Violet to the stand.
Vera, did you know Jeremiah?"

Vera: "Yes, I lived in his rich soil.
A few years ago, I saw Freddie growing on Jeremiah.
His branches started falling off.
(Weeping) Freddie caused Jeremiah to get sick.
Lock him up!"

Lawyer: "May I ask what has happened to you after the death of Jeremiah Sycamore?"

Vera: "Well, the soil has been very good and my family is very healthy."

Lawyer: " have benefited from Jeremiah's death!
Without Freddie Fungus, the nutrients of Jeremiah would never have been released into the soil and you would not be as healthy as you are today!"

Vera: "Well...yes. I do have to say that Freddie Fungus has helped the soil make me grow strong and beautiful.
Aren't I beautiful?"

Lawyer: "Yes, yes. Next witness!"

(Vera exits the stage)

Woody Woodpecker Page 4

Lawyer: "I would now like to call Woody Woodpecker to the stand.
Mr. Woodpecker, how long have you known Jeremiah?"

Woody: "I have lived in Jeremiah for one year.
I like to make my nests in soft trees like Sycamores."

Lawyer: "How soft would you say Jeremiah's trunk was?"

Woody: "Oh, very soft. In fact, he was rotten in many places. He was was full of bugs.
I loved eating all the juicy bugs. Yum!"

Lawyer: By drilling into the trunk of Jeremiah, do you feel any responsibility for his death?"

Woody: "Hey! I'm not on trial!
I'm just making a home for myself.
I didn't cause his death!
It was Freddie Fungus!
Freddie was growing on Jeremiah long before I moved in."

(All characters enter the stage)

Page 5

Lawyer: "Ladies and gentlemen of the court, yes,
Freddie Fungus was last seen on Jeremiah,
but is he to blame for Jeremiah's death?
After all, fungus make a living off of dying things.
As we have seen, all have benefited from Jeremiah's death."

Woody: "I was able to build a nest in the soft wood of Jeremiah, and I ate all the bugs living in him."

Freddie: "I was able to grow on Jeremiah and decompose the tree to make the soil rich."

Vera: "Thanks to Freddie Fungus, the soil helped me grow and look so beautiful.
Aren't I beautiful?
(All reply, "Yes!")

Widow: "But who killed my husband?" (weeping)

Lawyer: "Yes, we all feel sorry for Widow Sycamore,
but should we blame Freddie Fungus for Jeremiah's death or perhaps just Old Age?
I'll let you decide. I rest my case."

Refer to Project Wild for similar plays