Iron from breakfast cereal

Here is an unbelievably easy experiment that you can do with some iron-fortified cereal and a strong magnet. I got the idea from Steve Spangler Science.


  • iron-fortified cereal (about 2-3 cups)
  • strong magnet (even a fridge magnet will work if it’s strong enough)
  • plastic ziptop quart size freezer bag (freezer bags are stronger) or larger
  • water


Step 1:

Gather your supplies (we used a variety of magnets as I wasn’t sure what was going to work)


Step 2:

Pour some of your iron-fortified cereal into a baggie. Yes, *some* is a scientific term, in this case, it probably equates to about 2 cups give or take (about half a quart sized freezer storage bag). You can use more but you need a larger bag. You can crush the flakes a bit to make them smaller.


Step 3:

Add some water, almost to the top of the bag, but not too much because you want to leave room to seal the bag. Let sit for 15 minutes for the cereal to get mushy and dissolve.


Step 4:

Take your magnet in your hand and place the bag on top of the magnet in your hand and rock it back and forth (or side to side, I’m not picky) for a while.

Step 5:

Carefully flip the bag and the magnet over, and observe:


The iron will not dissolve in water and you can collect the iron with the magnet. That black “dust” to the right of the magnet (and my husband’s fingers) is the iron collected from the cereal. Yummy!

To print out or download a copy of this experiment, click print or download on the image below


How cool is that?

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8 Responses to Iron from breakfast cereal

  1. Kathy says:

    I have never gotten that experiment to work! I’ll have to try again.

    (coming soon)

  2. Eva says:

    oh wow! thanks for this post I’ve always wanted to try this experiment :) I can’t believe how visible the iron is!

  3. theexplorationstation says:

    Kathy – I was completely surprised that my heavy duty fridge magnet did the trick! I was expecting to have to buy the super strong magnets from Steve Spangler or something.

  4. theexplorationstation says:

    Eva – I couldn’t believe it either. When I saw the experiment on Steve Spangler’s website, I assumed it really wasn’t going to work. It really was exciting to see that it did work.

  5. teachingyoungchildren says:

    Eewww – I didn’t realize just how much iron we eat. It’s a pretty cool experiment though :)

  6. theexplorationstation says:

    Yeah, me neither TYC. Kinda weird to think we are eating that, but it’s true.

  7. Cinta says:

    Hi this is cool. I havent tried it yet, but I’m going to do a science fair project about this cereal.

  8. Jay Doherty says:

    Wow, that is amazing! I never really thought that the iron we eat would be so visible and so much, I’m going to get my mini scientists to have a go at this one

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