Biotech in a Bag

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In a series of three experiments, learners explore the basics of biotechnology using self-locking plastic baggies. Each experiment demonstrates a phenomenon or principle of biotechnology. In the first experiment, yeasts will anaerobically oxidize grape sugars to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide. The second experiment demonstrates denaturing protein in milk (cheese-making) and the third experiment uses yeast to leaven flour (bread-making). These experiments "in a bag" allow learners to explore biotechnology in a safe, convenient and inexpensive way. Adult supervision is recommended.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • self-locking plastic baggies (with perforations, quart size)
  • self-locking plastic baggies (heavy-duty freezer bags, quart size)
  • 5 grams dried baker's yeast (Saccharomyces)
  • tape
  • pH indicator strips
  • scale
  • 150 g of grapes
  • paper and pen
  • warm environment (25 degrees C)
  • glowing splint or lighted match
  • refractometer or densitometer (or an antifreeze tester)
  • 250 ml fresh milk
  • microwave
  • thermometer
  • 25 grams of blue (or roguefort) cheese
  • 25 ml vinegar (optional)
  • lard or cooking spray (to lightly grease inside of self-locking baggie)
  • 150 g high gluten flour (bread flour)
  • 10 g yeast
  • 10 g sugar
  • 1 g salt
  • 40 degree C water


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Acids and Bases
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kolb, Barbara