The Paper Towel Absorbency Lab

The Paper Towel Absorbency Lab:
Applying the Scientific Method
Ms. Bormann
8th Grade Honors Science
Kawameeh Middle School
Applying the Scientific Method
 1. Ask
a question.
 2. Research the topic.
 3. Form a hypothesis.
Record the materials you are using
 4. Test
the Hypothesis.
 5. Gather Data.
 6. Analyze Results.
 7. Draw Conclusions.
 8. Communicate Results.
A little information before you ask
a question and identify the purpose:
In this experiment, we will use the
scientific method to test three brands of
paper towels to determine which brand
really is ―the quicker picker upper. We
will expose each brand of paper towel to
the same treatment and then measure
how much water each brand of towel
absorbs in 30 seconds.
Question and Purpose
Which brand of paper towel will absorb
the most water?
 The purpose of this lab is to determine…
You’ve been using paper towels to clean up your
mess ever since you were a little kid. Identify some
background information regarding the paper towel
brands you will be using.
Sparkle Towels –
Kirkland Towels
Dollar General Towels
This is a tentative answer to the problem
or question being asked.
 “If…then…” statement
LIST all materials being used
 Paper towels (be specific on brands)
 250 mL beaker
 1000 mL beaker
 100 mL graduated cylinder
 Water
 Stop watch
Experiment (test your hypothesis)
Cut and paste this procedure in your lab notebook.
 When complete, below this procedure create a data
table that includes towel brand, start amount (mL),
finish amount (mL), and amount absorbed (mL).
Experiment (use your hypothesis)
Cut each paper towel sheet to the same size and RECORD the size
in your notebook.
Fill your 1000 ml beaker with water.
Use the graduated cylinder to measure and fill the 250 ml beaker
with 100 ml of water.
Fold each paper towel in half 4 times.
Dip one brand of paper towel in the water for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds, remove the paper towel from the water and hold
until no more water is dripping out of the paper towel. Do not shake
the towel! Put the paper towel aside.
Pour the water remaining in the beaker back into the graduated
cylinder and record the finish amount on the table you created.
Subtract the finish amount from the start amount to determine how
much water each brand of paper towel absorbed.
Repeat for each brand of paper towel.
Experiment (test your hypothesis)
Combine the ―amount absorbed for your group with data collected in other groups in the
table on the following page.
Analyze your data
Plot the average amount absorbed for each brand of towel on the graph provided. The
independent variable is always on the X-axis (horizontal), while the dependent
variable is always on the Y-axis (vertical). Label each axis with the variable and the unit
of measure.
Analysis Questions
What can we conclude from the results of the
Do the results support your hypothesis?
Which variables were controlled in the experiment?
(The control)
Why is repeating the experiment (replication)
always important?
What are the potential sources of variability among
What new questions do you have after completing
this experiment?
How could you design an experiment to address
your new questions?
Lets see what you remember about
writing conclusions. Use any resources
you have. Write a rough draft in your lab
notebook for homework tonight. We will
be peer editing the conclusion before
your type your final draft!

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