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Wisconsin Energy Institute


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Chemistry, Biology

Resource Types

  • Experiments
  • Videos, 1 minute, 58 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 1 minute, 17 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Lesson Plans, 50-150 minutes

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin


PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint

Fermentation in a Bag

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  • In this experiment, students will create ethanol through fermentation using a few common ingredients.
  • Students will use warm water, dry active yeast, and feedstock to create ethanol and CO2 in a bag and measure the production of gas and ethanol using various tools.
  • Students can also compare which feedstocks produce more COor ethanol.
Teaching Tips


  • A video and written instructions make it easy for teachers and students to understand the experiment.
  • This resource contains a video on measuring fermentation rates without an ethanol probe, allowing many classrooms to perform the activity with few resources.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This experiment can be extended into a complete lesson on biofuels using the resources at the bottom of the page.
  • Students should know what ethanol is and its uses.
  • It may benefit students to first learn about chemical and physical changes.


  • Before beginning the experiment, the teacher can engage students and assess prior knowledge by reviewing chemical reactions.
  • This experiment can fit within a larger unit on different types of alternative energy.
  • This experiment can supplement a classroom discussion on new research related to corn-based ethanol or waste-based biofuels and their economic or environmental aspects.
Scientist Notes
This resource from The Wisconsin Energy Institute, the "Fermentation in a Bag" activity, is a hands-on experiment, and can be adapted for various grade levels to compare fermentation levels in feedstocks, which could be converted into biofuels. Additional resources are available to extend learning in the field of fermentation. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-3. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • RL.MF.6.6 Compare and contrast information or texts to develop a coherent understanding of a theme, topic, or issue when reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text.
  • Related Resources


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