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Food Webs: Cycling of Matter & Flow of Energy Activity for Kids

Watch Decomposers In Action DIY

  • Duration: 45-60 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: $0 to $10

Learn how to show decomposers in action!

Material List

  • 1Teaspoon
  • 1Bowl of Sugar
  • 3Plastic Bottles
  • 3Cups of Warm Water
  • 3Balloons
  • 3Packets of Baker’s Yeast
  • 1Funnel (optional)


  • 1Into each bottle, pour 1 cup of warm water and 1 packet of yeast.
  • 2In the 1st bottle do not add any sugar. To the 2nd one, add 1 teaspoon of sugar. To the 3rd one, add 4 teaspoons of sugar.
  • 3Cap the bottles tightly and shake them all up for a few seconds.
  • 4After shaking, take off the caps, put a balloon on each bottle, and observe them over 1 hour.

How It Works

In this demonstration, you will notice that the balloons fill up with gas. That gas is made by a type of fungus called yeast. Yeast is also a decomposer that breaks down large molecules like sugar into smaller molecules that can be reused in an ecosystem. One of the molecules that yeast produces is carbon dioxide, which collects in the balloons. The more sugar molecules we gave the yeast, the more carbon dioxide they made.

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