Find Iron in Your Food

Did you know? Magnets can help us find one of the most common elements on Earth in your breakfast cereal: iron.  Our bodies don’t produce iron, but it’s important for us to have enough iron, so it is sometimes added as a supplement to foods including cereal, pasta, and bread.

For this magnet experiment, you’ll need:

  • One powerful magnet, such as a Neodymium (rare earth) magnet. If you need to purchase one that will work with this magnet experiment, try one of our Hero Push Pin Magnets or a strong ceramic magnet like our Magnet Wand or Big Block Magnet.
  • Total brand breakfast cereal
  • Water
  • Clear glass bowl
  • 12” of thread

Method 1:

Fill your bowl with water, then drop one flake of Total cereal in and use your magnet wand or block to pull the flake across the water. You should see the cereal flake slowly following your magnet.

cereal method 1

 

 

 

 

Method 2:

cereal method 2Place the magnet on the bottom of your bowl, so that the top of the magnet is about ¼” below the surface.  Drop one flake of cereal near the magnet and watch the flake float toward the magnet.

 

 

Method 3:

Tie a piece of thread to your magnet, then lower the magnet under the water about ¼” below the surface. Drop one flake of cereal near the magnet and watch the flake float toward the magnet. Once the flake is “hooked” in the magnetic field, slowly reel your cereal flake to shore.

Method 4:

Pour the cereal and water (or milk) into the bowl and allow the cereal to get soft and soggy. Place the magnet into the bowl and move the magnet in slow circles all over the inside of the bowl for a couple of minutes. Then pull the magnet out of the bowl and place it on a piece of paper towel. Gently pat it dry, being careful not to wipe the magnet. You should notice small black particles on the surface of the magnet. This is iron!

method 4 1

 

 

 

method 4 2

 

 

 

 

Why This Magnet Experiment Works

As the cereal slowly dissolves into the water, small particles of iron are released. A strong magnet can attract and/or extract the iron bits.

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