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Are There Different Amounts of Iron In Different Brands of Cereal?

Background Research
Materials and Equipment
Experimental Procedure
Data Gathering
Grade Level:1st-5th
Time Required:Less than 1 day
Materials:Readily available


Much of the food we eat contains additives. Additives are anything that is added to food or drinks when it is made. Some of these additives are not healthy, like sugar or caffeine. Some of these additives are healthy and are called nutritional supplements. Food manufacturers are required to tell us when they add good stuff to food and drinks. They put this on the “Nutrition facts” panel on the packaging. The numbers listed in the “Percent Daily Value” column help you to figure out if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient. One nutrient everyone needs is iron. Iron is a mineral used by the body to help make red blood cells. Specifically, iron is used in the production of hemoglobin, which is the main protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body, so without iron, the tissues, muscles, and other systems do not receive enough oxygen, and cannot function properly. This leads to fatigue and poor health. An iron shortage can also cause shortness of breath, inability to perform physical tasks well, poor attention, and other learning problems. A lack of iron is a condition known as anemia. In this experiment we will test cereals for supplemental iron additives by using a blender, distilled water, and a magnet.

Background Research:

Everyone needs iron. However, it is especially critical that children receive the right amount of iron throughout childhood in order to make hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying part of red blood cells. Without enough iron, the brain and physical development is slowed and can lead to problems throughout life.
This is why most breakfast cereals are fortified with iron. This type of iron begins as iron ore or scrap. It is then taken through processes involving high temperatures and pressure, after which, it is ground up and under a microscope, looks like rock. Iron can be added to cereal in many forms. It can be sprayed on after the cereal is made or as in some cases, manufacturers add elemental iron or reduced iron. Elemental iron is particles of pure iron that is added to the grains, salt, water and possibly flavoring agents and then cooked. Afterwards, the flakes are then flattened by pressure resulting in the iron being almost impossible to see by the consumer.


The higher the Percentage of Daily Value the larger the iron pellet will be

Materials and Equipment:

  • Assortment of Breakfast Cereals:
  • Honey Nut Scooters
  • Frosted Mini Wheats
  • Frosted Flakes
  • Cocoa Pebbles
  • Blender
  • Clear plastic 16 oz. cups
  • Plastic spoon
  • Distilled water
  • Heavy duty magnet (of any type)
  • Metric measuring cup
  • Plastic wrap

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