Paper Plunge Experiment

Paper Plunge Experiment

Can you dunk newspaper under water and have it come out dry? Does air take up space? We're always up for a fun and surprising science demonstration!

5 - 9
Est. Time:
<30 mins

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. newspaper
  2. container (medium)
  3. container (large, wide-mouth)
  4. water
  5. towel
  1. We filled our big container with water (between half and two-thirds full).

  2. We tore off a half-sheet of newspaper, and stuffed it firmly into our small container. We made sure that the paper would not fall out when the bowl was flipped over.

  3. We wanted to actually "see" that air takes up space, so we put a little sticker at the container's water line.

  4. Maddie flipped her bowl (with the crumpled-up newspaper) upside down, and pushed the small container straight down into the large water jar. She held the bowl down, and I put a sticker on the jar at the new water level.

  5. After about 20 seconds, Maddie lifted the bowl out--straight up. She put the container on the table, dried off her hands....

  6. and finally pulled the newspaper out of the small bowl. Is it...

  7. Is it?.... It is! It's dry!! And then just to make sure it really worked.... she did it again. We've quite confirmed it. Air is matter!

    Why did the newspaper stay dry? The air inside the small container takes up space. The paper stays dry because the water can only get into the container by squashing the air inside the container. The air gets a little bit squashed...but then it starts to push back and does not let the water touch the paper. Pretty neat!