Observations and results
What happened when you ran the magnet over the whole cereal flakes? What happened when you passed the magnet over the crushed cereal powder? How much iron were you able to extract from your cereal? Were you able to get more by dissolving the cereal powder in water? Check the nutrition facts label to see how much iron each serving actually contains (keep in mind that this tabletop project might not be able to get all of the iron out of the cereal).
As it is in Earth's rocks and soil, the iron in your breakfast cereal is attached to the other substances around it. But when you crush the cereal down, it helps to free up the iron particles, so they can be picked up by the magnet (dissolving the other parts of the cereal frees up the iron even more).
Share your iron extraction observations and results! Leave a comment below or share your photos and feedback on Scientific American's Facebook page.
Pour out the water and cereal mixture, being careful not to lose any magnets down the drain. Throw away any dry cereal powder and the iron particles.
More to explore
"Recycling Could Replace Mining for U.S. Iron Supply" from Scientific American
"A Dash of Nutrition" from Scientific American
"It's Elemental: Iron" element overview from the Jefferson Lab
Periodic table of elements interactive table from Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole, ages 4–8
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker, ages 9–12
Find Magnetic North with a Homemade Compass
What you'll need
• Plastic bowl or wide plastic cup
• Sheet of blank paper
• Round cork from a bottle
• Scissors or sharp knife (to cut the cork)
• Sewing needle