Yeast Fermentation Lesson Plan

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

How can you teach your students about how alcohol is created? In this lesson plan, you will have a video and activities that explain how yeast fermentation is used to make alcohol.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the process of fermentation in making beer, wine, and liquors.
  • distinguish similarities and differences in yeast fermentation.
  • explain how distillation is used to create a higher alcohol content in liquors.
  • demonstrate how yeast releases CO2.

Time Length

90 minutes

Common Core Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.3

Follow precisely a complex multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.


  • Computer with screen projection
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • 4 glass bottles per group
  • 4 balloons per group (possibly 4 rubber bands to help secure balloon if needed)
  • 1 funnel per group
  • 1 measuring cup per group
  • 1 teaspoon per group
  • 1/4 teaspoon per group
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Warm water
  • Quiz

Lesson Instructions

Experiment Part 1

  • Ask students if they have any idea about what yeast is used for? Do they know it can be used to make alcohol?
  • Tell students they are going to see first-hand how yeast fermentation works.
  • Divide students into groups of about 3-4 students.
  • Have students set up experiment:
    • Place 4 bottles on table. Label each bottle with a number: Bottle 1, Bottle 2, etc.
    • Measure and pour 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast into each bottle.
    • Place no sugar in Bottle 1, place 1 tsp. of sugar in Bottle 2, place 2 tsp. of sugar in Bottle 3, and place 3 tsp. of sugar in Bottle 4.
  • Now ask students to form a hypothesis based on the amount of sugar used in each bottle. (How will it affect yeast fermentation?)
  • Finish experiment:
    • Pour 1 cup of warm water into each bottle and shake it up well.
    • Secure a balloon on top of each bottle. Let sit for at least one hour. While waiting, continue lesson.

Video Lesson

  • Show students the video from Yeast Fermentation: Using Yeast Fermentation to Make Alcohol
  • Pause video at 2:30 and review how yeast is used.
  • Continue video. Then, pause again at 4:22 to recap how brewers create their own yeast.
  • Finish video and review with students how fermentation is used differently for beer and wine.
  • Discuss how distillation creates a higher alcohol content in liquors.

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