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Finding Iron In Breakfast Cereal

Iron is an essential mineral to our body.

It is found in every cell and is used to make hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body.

If we don’t have enough iron, our body will show symptoms including lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, or weight loss.

Over time, we will suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

Fortunately, we can get iron in our diet.

Have you ever read the cereal box and noticed that there’s “iron” in the cereal’s nutrition list?

Here’s an experiment you can actually see the iron in your cereal.

Nutrition table from a cereal box used in this Iron cereal science fair projects
Find iron in cereal experiment

Finding Iron In Breakfast Cereal

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Can we find the "iron" in cereal? Let's do an experiment to find out. You'll be pleasantly surprised!

Materials

  • your favorite cereal that has iron listed in the nutrition table (I used multi-grain cheerios)
  • neodymium magnet
  • a clear bottle (any used bottles such as shampoo bottles are fine, or you can use this)
  • water

Tools

  • a clear bottle (any used bottles such as shampoo bottles are fine, or you can use this)
  • adult supervision

Instructions

  1. Fill the bottle with water until it is a third full.

    a magnet, a bottle of water and cereal used in the Iron breakfast cereal experiment
  2. Put cereal into the bottle of water.

    put cereal into the bottle of water
  3. Shake. (kids especially enjoy this step)

    put the cap on and shake the bottle
  4. If your cereal doesn't dissolve or break up after shaking, then it's better to leave the cereal soaked overnight for it to soften and break up.

    check if the cereal has dissolved after shaking
  5. When the cereal is thoroughly soaked and in smaller pieces, place the magnet on the outside of the bottle to attract the iron inside. Rotate the bottle so that more liquid can touch the point where the magnet is.

    Put the magnet outside the bottle but touching it
  6. Now rotate the bottle until the water isn't directly underneath the magnet any more. Slowly lift the magnet to see the iron pieces stuck on the bottle!

    iron pieces are separated from the cereal by the magnet

    Closeup of the iron found in this iron cereal experiment

Notes

It was amazing that I could really find iron in the cereal. When I moved the magnet, the iron pieces would move with it. They even started to align with the magnetic field lines.

Iron is an essential mineral to our body. It is found in every cell and is used to make hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body.

If we don't have enough iron, our body will show symptoms including lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, or weight loss, and over time, we will suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

But our body can't produce iron. That is why it is important for our balanced diet to include enough of it to maintain a healthy body. Some cereals, such as the one we used here, is fortified with iron. The high iron content makes it easier for us to find and see in the experiment.

Does it mean that you can eat nail for breakfast? NO! Fortified iron is food-grade iron, different from the iron you see in everyday life objects. 🙂

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A bowl of milk with 2 cheerio floating on top.
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