Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of science experiment involving magnet. When my 4 year old showed interest in the breakfast cereal’s nutrition list, I told her that the cereal she ate contained iron, too, just like the iron she did experiments with.
So the natural question is, “Can a magnet attracts cereal?”
I wasn’t sure, but thought I should do an experiment to find out. I was pleasantly surprised.
What you need
- 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)
- Fill the bottle with water until it is a third full.
- Put cereal into the bottle of water.
- Shake. (My kid especially enjoyed this step)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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 cereal, 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. 🙂