Iron Or What?

3.6 based on 53 ratings

Updated on Oct 01, 2014

5th – 8th grades
Difficulty of Project

Less than $10.00

Safety Issues
Material Availability

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

  • 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

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.


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?

  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

Nancy Rogers Bosse has been involved in education for over forty years à first as a student, then as a teacher, and currently as a curriculum developer. For the last fifteen years she has combined a career in freelance curriculum development with parenthood à another important facet of education and probably the most challenging. Nancy lives in Henderson, Nevada with husband and their three teenagers.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely