Magnetic Cereal

Magnetic Cereal


Pull a couple of cereal boxes from the shelf and test their iron content with this simple experiment. It's fun to see your breakfast whiz across the surface of milk using a magnet!

Ages:
5 - 7
Est. Time:
<30 mins

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. bowl
  2. milk
  3. cereal - with high iron content (We used cereals that had over 150% DV iron content per 100 g serving)
  4. neodymium magnets (1)
  1. Fill a bowl with milk.

  2. Sprinkle in a handful of cereal pieces.

  3. Bring the magnet close to the cereal (without touching it!) and see if you can start moving the pieces! If there is enough iron in the cereal and your magnets are strong enough, you will be able to move the cereal pieces around the bowl!

     

    Do certain types of cereal move faster than others when chasing the magnet? You can conduct this experiment many times to see which cereals have a high iron content and which ones don't.

     

    Be very careful with these magnets and keep them away from small children! In this experiment, adults should handle the magnets as they can be very dangerous if swallowed or handled improperly.

  4. What's going on?


    This is a simple experiment that demonstrates magnetic attraction, a force that pulls on things from a distance. Magnets, like your neodymium magnet, are made of a special alloy - or mixture - of three types of metal (neodymium, boron, and iron), which allows them to create a magnetic field. This magnetic field pulls on other magnets and metals, like the iron in your cereal (many breakfast cereals have iron added to make them more nutritious). But what’s a magnetic field? People have been asking this question for centuries, but we still don’t really know what a magnetic field is made of. We do know, though, that magnetic fields are invisible - and lots of fun to play around with! Explore some more by creating a solution of crushed up cereal in liquid.