Keep Paper Dry Under Water Science Experiment

The kids will love this simple keep paper dry under water science experiment and be amazed when the paper doesn’t even get wet! All you need is a few household supplies for this fun science activity.

Keep Paper Dry Under Water Science Experiment

You only need a see-through container, clear cup, paper towels and some water for this activity. This activity is fast to setup and easy for kids to do with adult supervision.

Be sure to ask questions to the kids about what they think will happen with the paper towel when it goes under water. And don’t forget to ask them to share their hypothesis on why the paper stayed dry after removing the cup from the water.

Make sure you scroll all the way down to get the explanation of how this works and to see the video demonstration.

Instructions for Dry Paper Towel Science Experiment

Supplies Needed:

  • Clear Container
  • Cup
  • Paper Towel
  • Water

*Tip: You don’t want to crumple up the paper towel too much or it will fall out of the cup when you flip it over. 

  1. Fill a clear container with water. Make sure you have enough water to fully submerge the cup you are using.
  2. Grab a piece of paper towel and slightly crumple it. Put the paper inside the clear cup. The paper towel should fit completely into the cup.
  3. Flip the cup. Make sure the paper towel does not fall out.
  4. Submerge the cup straight down into the water. Do not angle the cup at all.
  5. Pull the cup out of the water. Keep it straight as you pull up and confirm that the paper towel is still dry!

The kids loved this science activity! They enjoyed taking turns and attempting to go straight down into the water and out without creating any bubbles and keeping the paper towel dry.

They also liked experimenting with angling the glass when inserted into the water. This was to see how wet the paper towels got when they tried that variation of the experiment.

How does this simple science experiment work?

This experiment is all about air pressure. Students will learn that there is air in the cup and when you place the cup straight down the air is still in there. The air is pushing to escape out of the cup and this air pressure prevents the water from rushing into the cup.

The air pressure and water pressure are balancing each other out. If they weren’t, the water would fill the cup or the air would escape. This science experiment shows kids that there is air in the cup and air pressure is keeping the water out.

If the student tips the cup at all, some of the air is able to bubble up the side and escape. The water pressure allows the water to then get inside the cup.

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Extend the Learning

You can also try a variation of this experiment. Have your kids remove the paper towel and submerge the glass. Then tilt the glass so that it fills with water. They will then lift the cup out of the water, but not all the way out. The kids will see that there is water trapped in the cup above the water line!

This is because the air pressure from outside the cup that is trying to get back in is forcing the water into the cup. This is a really fun variation of the experiment!

This science activity would be a great addition to your simple science lessons and is a fun way for kids to learn about air pressure.

I hope you and the kids enjoy this fun science experiment!