Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will experiment with testing the absorbency of paper towels.

These Snappy Science resources have been created to boost science education in primary schools across Australia. Each lesson is designed to support teachers with the scientific knowledge, ideas and resources to stimulate a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students. Many of the big issues that Australian society will face in the future are around technology, energy, resources and climate change. All of these require students to engage with science – but most of all to enjoy science!

Science at Home: These Snappy Science resources can also be used to engage families in fun science and learning for life. You can download a student friendly version of this activity here and you can also check out the Snappy Science Digital Library.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description: This activity is relevant to Science Inquiry Skills across all primary year levels of the Australian Curriculum.

Year 2 Science

  • Earth’s resources, including water, are used in a variety of ways (ACSSU032)

Year 5 Science

  • Solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways (ACSSU077)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-9ES, ST2-7PW.

Time required: 10 – 15 minutes.

Resources required: Masking tape, narrow glass jar, water, paper towels, marker pen.

Safety advice: None.

Keywords: Water, absorption, paper towels.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Brief summary:

Students will experiment with testing the absorbency of paper towels.

Students can use the Predict, Observe, Explain table on the Student Worksheet to describe and reflect upon this experiment.

You will need:

  • Masking tape
  • Narrow glass jar
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Marker

What to do:

Step 1. Stick a piece of masking tape lengthwise down the side of your jar.

Step 2. Fill the jar with water and mark the level of water on the tape with your marker.

Step 3. Fold one sheet of paper towel in half four times to make a small square.

Step 4. Dip the entire paper square into the jar of water and then remove.

Step 5. Mark the new water level on the tape then refill the jar with water to the original level.

Step 6. Lay three sheets of paper towels on top of each other and fold them in half four times to make a small square.

Step 7. Dip the paper square into the water, remove the wet paper and mark the water level on the masking tape. The water level will have decre

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Student Worksheet

In this experiment you will be testing the absorbency of paper towels.


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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