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Yeast-Air Balloons

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Yeast-Air Balloons

In this activity, learners make a yeast-air balloon to get a better idea of what yeast can do. Learners discover that the purpose of leaveners like yeast is to produce the gas that makes bread rise. Learners discover that as yeast feeds on sugar, it produces carbon dioxide which slowly fills the balloon.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup very warm water (105° F – 115° F)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • A large rubber balloon
  • A small (1-pint to 1-liter) empty water bottle


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Protists and Fungi

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • The Exploratorium,

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, ESI-0104724


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