Yeast Balloons

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Visitors observe a bottle with a balloon attached around the mouth. The bottle contains a solution of yeast, sugar, and water. The resulting chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide gas that fills the bottle and inflates the balloon. Visitors learn that fermentation is a chemical reaction produced by a living organism and that the reaction produces gas. They associate the reaction to familiar processes in making bread and beer.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One clear, narrow-necked, glass or plastic flask or bottle
  • One large balloon (have 5-7 on hand for a week)
  • Active dry yeast (keep one 4-oz jar on hand; keep extra in refrigerator)
  • Sugar (keep 1 Ib on hand)
  • One 1-tsp measuring spoon
  • One Plexiglas shield


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Chemistry of Life
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Respiration
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation