Iron Or What?
Difficulty of Project
Less than $10.00
Easily purchased at a grocery store
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
One hour to conduct the investigation; one day to prepare science display
To investigate whether breakfast cereals contain iron
Materials and Equipment
- 3 different breakfast cereals (1 cup of each type; 2 should be enriched; 1 should not be enriched)
- Measuring cup
- 3 large re-closeable plastic bags
- Rolling pin
- 3 white coffee filters
- Magnifying glass
Most breakfast cereals are enriched with iron. Iron helps the body produce red blood cells. It is important for good health. A diet lacking in iron can cause tiredness and can reduce the body’s resistance to diseases.
In this investigation, a magnet is used to collect iron from breakfast cereals.
Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research
iron: a metallic element that helps to build red blood cells
enriched: something added to something else to provide a benefit
Iron is necessary for good health. It helps our bodies build red blood cells. Some cereals are enriched with iron.
- Do breakfast cereals contain iron?
- Is the iron in breakfast cereals the same as iron in a nail?
- Why do our bodies need iron?
- Gather the necessary materials
- Label the re-closeable plastic bags to identify the cereals. Pour one cup of each cereal into the appropriate bag.
- Using a rolling pin, crush each cereal into a fine powder.
- Tape the magnet to the end of a spoon to create a magnet wand.
- Pour one cup of water into one of the bags of cereal. Using the magnet wand, stir the mixture for five minutes.
- After the five minutes, wipe the magnet unto a coffee filter. Use the magnifying glass to look at the particles. Only iron particles will stick to the magnet. Record the results.
- Clean and dry the magnet wand.
- Repeat Steps 5 – 7 using the other cereals.
“Breakfast Cereals Show Their Metal” by James H. Swain, PhD, RD at http://www.ars.usda.gov/New/docs.htm?docid=9299
“Iron and Your Child” at kidshealth.org
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