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How Does the Paper Stay Dry?
Discrepant Events Research
LEGO Timeline
LEGO Story
A LEGO Lesson
Evaporation Activity
Condensation Activity
Raindrop Activity
Mass/Weight Misconception
Dissolving Misconception
Living Things Misconception
Air/Oxygen Misconception
Planetary Orbit Misconception
Surface Tension Demonstration
Air Pressure Paradox
Iodine/Starch Paradox
Air Pressure Paradox
Daytime Star Paradox
Mouse Simile
Rabbit Simile
Giraffe Simile
Bear Simile
Air Speed/Flight Demonstration
Cohesion Demonstration
Optical Illusion Demonstration
Lightning Demonstration
Twinkling Star Demonstration
Density Paradox

Science Area:  Physics
Concept:  Air Pressure

High And Dry Demonstration



* A Cup

* A Pot

* A crumpled up piece of paper


Safety Considerations:

* Be careful not to spill water on the floor. 



Students will expect that the crumpled up paper to be wet when the cup is pulled out of the pot of water. 




1.   Crumple up a piece of paper and put it into the bottom of a cup.


2.   Fill a larger container about full with water.


3.   Turn the cup upside down and slowly push it into the larger container.


4.   Slowly pull the cup out of the container of water.


5.  Examine the piece of crumpled up paper.



1.  What did you expect to have happen?


2.  Why do you think happened?


3.  Do you think you would have the same results if other liquids such as vegetable oil were used?




The reason the paper did not get wet is this:  The air remaining in the cup pushed down on the water in the container.  The push of the air on the water kept the water from moving into the cup and getting the paper wet.  This is a great visual demonstration of how great the pressure is that air exerts on other objects.  Air pressure is a tough concept to grasp because air is not something that can be seen.  It

doesn’t appear to be there, so how could it actually push anything out of the way?  Just because something is invisible does not mean that it does not exist.  This demonstration helps prove that air exists and that it can apply pressure on another object.


Source:  Penrose, Gordon.  Dr. Zed’s Science Surprises, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY. 1989 p.26.