Extreme Lesson Plan Make Over: Leavening Agents

Christine, a family and consumer science teacher from New Jersey submitted her leavening agents lesson plan for a makeover. This is what she said about it,

“I love that I am attempting to show show the students the food science part of leavening.  I feel like the students don’t really understand why they are doing what I ask when the results don’t always come out as I expect (as they should), it is even harder. I think it needs a strong introduction, a strong conclusion that are both lacking. And it needs pizzazz!”




  • 9.5.6 Conduct sensory evaluations of food products.
  • 8.5.10 Prepare breads, baked goods and desserts using safe handling and professional preparation techniques.


  • Youtube All About Leavening
  • Alton Brown has three episodes that are about leavening agents: The Muffin Man, Dr. Strange Loaf, The Dough also Rises


  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Stop Watches
  • Vinegar
  • Muffin Tins & Liners
  • Yeast
  • Rulers


  • Divide students into five lab groups.
  • Students should make the muffins according to the instructions on the lab sheet. Blueberries are optional additions since the muffins are plain. Add them to two out of the six muffins if desired.
  • While they are baking have each group mix their ziplock bag of leavener and liquid and time the reaction according to the instructions (see attachments).
  • When muffins are done students should choose the tallest muffin from each lab group and as a class or each group should measure the muffin. Then cut the muffin in half and look at the air pockets (or lack there of). Students should describe the visual appearance. Finally, a least one student from each lab group should taste each muffin and record a taste profile on the lab worksheet.


  • Muffin Leavening Agent Lab (see attachment)
    • Lab Group 1 NONE
    • Lab Group 2 Baking Powder (1 1/2 tsp)
    • Lab Group 3 Baking Soda & Vinegar (1/2 tsp + 1 tsp)
    • Lab Group 4 Baking Soda ( 1 1/2 tsp)
    • Lab Group 5 Yeast (2 tsp)
  • While muffins are baking, each lab group should complete the Reaction Speed of Chemical Leavening Agents experiment.

Background for Teachers

  • Air is leavening agent so both aerating the flour (sifting), whipping air into eggs, and stirring add air to a recipe. This is why I suggest you have all groups count how many times they stir the batter.



  • What are leavening Agents?
  • What does baking soda need in order to react?
  • What two leavening agents did we not experiment with today?



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