Yeast on the Rise

Yeast on the Rise


Marie Pollitt

Unit Title:

Yeast on the Rise





Estimated Duration:

11 days (90 minute classes)

Unit Activities:

Activity 1: Testing for Metabolism

Activity 2: Testing for Growth & Reproduction

Activity 4: Testing for Response to Environment

Activity 5: Looking Inside a Single-Celled Organism

Activity 6: Bread Design & Data Analysis

Background Knowledge: 

Prior Concepts Related to Species and Reproduction

PreK-2: Living things have specific traits and are made up of a variety of structures.

Grades 3-5: Organisms are made of parts. Individual organisms inherit many traits from their parents indicating a reliable way to transfer information from one generation to the next. 


July 2014

The Big Idea (including global relevance)

Yeast are beneficial to mankind.  Many industries benefit from the use of yeast such as; food industry, brewing industry, medical industry and Biofuel industry.  The consumption of yeast as a food allows the body to receive a sufficient amount of proteins, B vitamins, and minerals.  Research indicates taking certain types of yeast will lower total and “bad cholesterol” as well as lowering levels of triglyceride levels caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease (AIDS).  They are also utilized in medicine as a source of enzymes.   Yeast are used to study molecular genetics.  The Biofuel industry uses the yeast’s fermentation process to produce ethanol.  Additional uses of yeast are for protecting and cleansing the environment; for example, pollution cleanup, waste recycling, crop protection, and bioremediation.    

The Essential Question

1. In what ways does yeast benefit the medical field?

Challenge:  Design a challenge utilizing yeast as a source of enzymes.

2. In what ways does yeast benefit the food industry?

Challenge:  Design a recipe utilizing yeast to benefit our diet.

3. In what ways does yeast benefit the environment?

Challenge:  Design a challenge where yeast are utilized to protect and cleans the environment. 

Justification for Selection of Content

The 5th grade OAA tests taken in May 2014 results yielded 70% mastery in life science, while 43% showed mastery in 8th grade life science.  The percent mastery deceased from 5th grade to 8th grade.  Based upon these tests, a percieved weakness in life science has manifested.  

The Challenge

Design a new recipe to produce a high quality of yeast bread.

The Hook

Speaker from Buskin or Klosterman

Teacher's Guiding Questions
  • Are yeast living?
  • What classifies something as living?
  • Does yeast reproduce and grow?
  • What does yeast need in order to grow?
  • Does yeast reproduce?
  • How do yeast reproduce?
  • Does yeast respond to its environment?
  • What are the structures and functions within yeast?
  • How does flour impact the quality of bread?
  • How does sugar impact the quality of bread?
  • How does milk impact the quality of bread?
  • How does water impact the quality of bread?
ACS (Real world applications; career connections; societal impact)

Applications- Yeast is an important component in bread making and other fermented products

Career Connections- Chemical engineers are involved in the food industry.

Societal Impact- Yeast provides a variety of breads which are associated with many cultures.

Engineering Design Process (EDP)

Students follow all of the steps of the engineering design process.  Students brainstorm and design various yeast bread recipes.  They will create and test a product and then revise and refine it. 

Students follow all of the steps of the engineering design process by creating a high quality of yeast bread.  Students brainstorm and create various recipes to determine how a particular ingredient impacts the quality of yeast bread.  Teams will test one variable and communicate their results to the class.  Students will use the class results to create a high quality of yeast bread.  

Unit Academic Standard


  • This topic focuses on the basics of Modern Cell Theory.  All organisms are composed of cells, which are the fundamental unit of life.  Cells carry on the many processes that sustain life.  All cells come from pre-existing cells.

Content Statement

  • Cells are the fundamental unit of life.
  • All cells come from pre-existing cells.
  • Cells carry on specific functions that sustain life.
  • Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function.
Unit Activities

Lesson 1:  Are Yeast Living Organisms

          Activity 1: 

          Day 1

1.      Pre-test (2.1.01a)

2.     Hook- guest speaker

3.     Metabolism Lab (2.1.01b)

Activity 2-3:

          Day 2-3

1.     Growth Lab (2.1.02c)

2.     Reproduction Lab(2.1.03d)

Activity 4:

          Day 3

1.     Changing Water Temperature Lab (2.2.04e)

Activity 5:  

          Day 4         

1.      Structures and Function of Yeast Cells (2.01.05f) 

Lesson 2:  Yeast Bread Design & Data Analysis

          Activity 6-7:

          Day 5-11

1.     Testing Variables for Yeast Bread (2.2.06g)

2.     Engineering Design Process for Yeast Bread (2.2.07h) with Score Guide (2.2.07i) and Troubleshooting Yeast Bread Design (2.2.07j)

3.     Post-test (2.2.07k)

Where the CBL and EDP appear in the Unit

Lesson 2, Activity 1, 3, and 4


If it moves, it is alive.

If it seems to move by itself, it’s alive; if it’s moved by something else, it’s not alive.

If it makes light or a noise, it’s alive.

It’s not alive unless it’s “doing something.”

To be alive, something has to “breathe.”

Growth is not a prerequisite of life.

Objects like seeds, spores, eggs, and pupae are not alive, but they can give rise to living things.

Plants and fungi are not alive.

Plants and fungi have a different kind of life than animals.

Algae and mushrooms are plants.

All cells have one nucleus.

Fungi are harmful to plants.

Additional Resources

Preparing Yeast Breads Lesson- National Food Service (PDF)

Yeast Bread:  Final Evaluation Project


Pre-Unit Assessment Instrument

Pre-test (2.1.01a)

Post-Unit Assessment Instrument

Post-test (2.1.07k)

How to Make This a Hierarchical Unit

Grades 7-8:

  • Photosynthesis and respiration are compared.

Grade 8: 

  • More details about sexual and asexual reproduction will be studied.

High School:

  • Details of cellular processes such as photosynthesis, chemosynthesis, cellular respiration,cell division and differentiation are studied. Cellular organelles studied are cytoskeleton, Golgi complex and endoplasmic reticulum.
  • Details of cellular processes are studied. Molecules enter and leave the cell by the mechanisms of diffusion, osmosis and active transport.