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Nutrition In Your Food

Activity 3: Metal in Your Mouth

What's found in the ground and something that you put in your mouth? If you guessed metal, you're right! Many vegetables, meats, and cereals contain iron, which helps to build blood cells and helps your cells to carry oxygen throughout your body.

You Will Need:

  • A box of Total cereal
  • Dinner plate
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Water
  • A strong magnet (such as a neodymium magnet)

What to Do:

  1. Pour a small pile of Total cereal flakes onto a plate and crush them into many tiny pieces.
  1. Spread out the pile so it forms a single layer of crumbs on the plate. Bring the magnet close enough to the layer of crumbs so that the magnet is close but not actually touching any of the cereal.  Do any of the pieces to move?  It could be metallic iron or it could be coincidence.
  1. Now press the magnet onto the crushed cereal but don't move it around if possible. Lift up and look underneath the magnet to see if anything is sticking to it.  There’s probably little pieces stuck to the magnet.  Why is this so?  It could be the magnet.  It could be static electricity.  It could even be that the cereal is sticky.  We’re not completely sure yet. Clean off the magnet and let’s try another way.
  1. Clean off the plate and pour on some water.  Then let a few cereal flakes float on the water. Hold the magnet close to a flake but not touching it, and see if the flake moves toward the magnet. Is there any movement?
  1. Measure around 1 cup of Total cereal into a quart size zipper-lock bag. Fill the bag at least half full with water (preferably warm) and seal the bag with an air pocket inside. Mix the cereal and water by squeezing and squishing the bag until the cereal becomes a brown, soupy mixture. Make sure it’s completely mixed together.
  1. Put the magnet on the bag and shake around the cereal and water inside the bag.  You can flip the bag upside down too (but make sure the bag is tight!) See any metallic iron of the cereal going to the magnet?  If you see tiny black specks, that’s iron!

Move the magnet around in circles. The iron will gather into a bigger clump and be much easier to see. When you're finished, pour the mixture down the drain and rinse the bag. You could probably find iron in other cereals and see which cereals have more iron. Try it!

Experiment Demonstration

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