Yeast Balloons: Can biochemistry blow up a balloon?

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Using yeast, sugar, and water, learners create a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide (CO2) gas inside a 2-liter bottle. They use this gas to inflate a balloon. This reaction shows the process of fermentation, a common reaction to make bread, beer, or wine. This activity, located on page 2 of the PDF, is a take-home version of the display of the same name in the Biochemistry unit of OMSI's Chemistry Lab. Included in the PDF are two additional activities: Egg Osmosis and Cabbage Juice Indicator.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • one small clear plastic soda bottle
  • warm water
  • one package active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • one large balloon (8" or 9" round)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Chemistry of Life
    • States of Matter
      • Gases

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation