(Chemistry for ages 5+)
Eating cereal for breakfast is a quick and easy way to get your first meal of the day, but is it healthy? Well some cereals are more healthy than others, but most cereals are fortified with iron, an important nutrient for transferring oxygen throughout your body.
How can you tell if your favorite breakfast cereal has iron? Well the video above shows one way to find out. Here’s how you do it:
Cereal fortified with iron
Clear plastic cup
Adult supervision (Adult supervision at all times please)
- Start by filling your Ziploc bag with cereal. Do not fill it so full that you cannot zip it closed.
- Next, add 1-2 cups of water to the bag. You want enough water to fully soak the cereal but not too much that your bag is overly full.
- Seal the bag and leave it undisturbed for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, mush the mixture in the bag with your hands to break up any chunks, and then pour the cereal and water mixture into your plastic cup.
- Using your stirrer, slowly stir the mixture while holding the strong magnet to the side of the cup.
- As you stir, you should be able to see a chunk of iron forming near the magnet. Remove the magnet from the side of the cup, and you can see the chunk disappear into the mixture again. If you put the magnet back up to the side of the cup, you can see the iron forming near it again. Feel free to repeat this activity with different types of cereal to see which ones have the most iron.
Iron is actually a magnetic metal that can be found in small amounts in certain foods. By mushing up those foods and mixing them into liquid, the little bits of iron can be separated out with a strong magnet.
You can try this with other foods that are high in iron, like soybeans, navy beans, lentils, or liver. Just grind them, mush them into water, and stir them around with a magnet to see how much iron you can separate.