Teach science through literature. Share the story of Gregory, the goat whose family thinks he’s strange because he likes to eat eggs, fish, fruit, and vegetables instead of tin cans and old tires. Follow up with a lesson on nutrition and magnetism. Have students use magnets to discover that there really is iron in their breakfast cereal! They will learn how important iron is in our diets, and that you can actually “see” it in your food. This kit comes with everything you need to carry out the experiments, including step-by-step instructions.
How Does It Work?
Many breakfast cereals are fortified with food-grade iron particles (metallic iron or “Fe” on the periodic table) which is listed as a mineral supplement on the package label. In Activity 1: The Crusher Test, the flakes were reduced to fine crumbs using the spoon. The iron was more accessible in this form but it was still locked up in the non-magnetic crumbs. Some of the smaller crumbs were moved by the magnet because it attracted the iron in them but most crumbs remained too big to budge. In Activity 2: Floaters, the iron was still locked in the floating flakes but they could be moved by the magnetic attraction of the iron since friction was reduced greatly. As a result, you could move the flakes at will by pushing or pulling them across the water using magnetic force on the iron. Since iron particles don’t dissolve in water, they remain intact inside the dry flake. When the matrix around the iron dissolves in your mouth and stomach (or in the water in the bag), the iron is released to the digestive process
(or to the influence of the nearby magnet). In Activity 3: Iron Mining, the freed iron filings gather against the inside of the bag along the edges of the magnet. What had been previously unseen is now visible and moveable using the magnet. Total cereal claims to contain 100% of your recommended daily allowance (or RDA) of iron. It’s believed that metallic iron is digested in the stomach and eventually absorbed in the small intestine. Some nutritionists don’t agree and make a case that metallic iron simply passes through the digestive system. It sounds like more research is needed and that means more science!
- 6 mini boxes of Total® cereal
- 6 mini boxes of Corn Flakes cereal
- 6 magnetic wands
- 12 small zip-top plastic bags
- 1 full-color teaching and activity guide
- 1 zip-top plastic storage bag
- The “Gregory, the Terrible Eater” book