Science project

Iron Or What?

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
  • Water
  • Magnet
  • Spoon
  • Tape
  • 3 white coffee filters
  • Magnifying glass 

Background Information

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. 

Research Questions
  • Do breakfast cereals contain iron?
  • Is the iron in breakfast cereals the same as iron in a nail?
  • Why do our bodies need iron? 

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather the necessary materials
  2. Label the re-closeable plastic bags to identify the cereals. Pour one cup of each cereal into the appropriate bag.
  3. Using a rolling pin, crush each cereal into a fine powder.
  4. Tape the magnet to the end of a spoon to create a magnet wand.
  5. Pour one cup of water into one of the bags of cereal. Using the magnet wand, stir the mixture for five minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. Clean and dry the magnet wand.
  8. Repeat Steps 5 – 7 using the other cereals. 



“Breakfast Cereals Show Their Metal” by James H. Swain, PhD, RD at 

“Iron and Your Child” at

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