Authors as Published

Elena Serrano, Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. (

Age   Children 7-10X Children 11-14 X Mixed AgesVirginia Standards of Learning
English 3.1, 3.2, 3.8, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2, 8.6
Health 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2, 7.3
Math 3.14, 3.8, 4.12, 5.3, 5.11, 5.12, 6.10, 7.3
Setting   Classroom    CampX     Either
Location   OutsideX Indoors     Either

Project Skill: Filtering drinks

Success Indicators: As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • compare drinks by the rate at which they filter
  • identify and discuss ingredients in different beverages

Life Skills: Decision making, Teamwork, Collaboration.

Preparation Time: Gather the supplies and set up stations.


  • Samples of different beverages
  • Stopwatches
  • Coffee filters
  • Collection containers
  • Measuring cups
  • Paper or note cards

Optional Supplies:

• Be a Drink Detective (VCE publication 348-242)


  1. Set up different stations with different beverages.
  2. Assign students to groups of four to five.
  3. At each station, set up a task list.
  4. Each group may circulate to each station and perform the experiment with each drink choice, if time permits. Otherwise, they can visit each station and observe the beverage and the length of time needed to filter it.
  5. Bring the class together to discuss which drink choices would most easily and readily be used by the body.
  6. Hand out Be a Drink Detective and discuss the questions.


  • Ask for help in setting up stations.
  • For younger children, measure the liquids ahead of time.
  • Milk and 100 percent juice (especially orange and grapefruit juice) will filter slower than other drinks because of the protein in milk and fiber pulp in the juice. They are still healthy drink choices, but they won’t quench a person’s thirst as quickly as water.

Examples Of Beverages:

  • Water 
  • Soft drinks
  • Unsweetened tea 
  • Sweetened tea
  • Sports drinks


  • Set up the coffee filter over the container.
  • Measure out 1 cup of the drink.
  • Write down the time.
  • Pour the drink over the filter.
  • Record the time the liquid was completely filtered.
  • Calculate how much time it took to filter and write the answer down on the paper or a note card.


  • What were you asked to do in this activity?
  • What did you learn?


  • Which beverages did you think would take the least and most amount of time to filter? Why?
  • What else did you notice from this experiment?
  • What surprised you about this activity?
  • Based on this experiment, which drinks do you think would quench your thirst the fastest? Why?
  • How many glasses of water should you drink each day?
  • What other beverages are healthy options, even if they may not filter quickly?
  • If you were to explain what you did today to a friend, what would you say?


  • What ingredients, besides sugar, in beverages may have negative consequences?
  • What are some reasons you should choose healthy drinks?


  • What will you tell others about this exercise?
The best thirst quencher is water.
Sweetened beverages take longer to digest, just as they take longer to filter.


This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services.  
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

December 14, 2011