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Several breakfast cereals contain iron as a mineral supplement. The iron is in the form of iron powder, and can be extracted from a suspension of crushed cereal in water using a magnet. Iron reacts with acid in the stomach and is eventually absorbed through the small intestine. If all the iron from the body were extracted, there would be enough for two small nails. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin.
This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.
Primary Learning Objective(s):
Students will test whether iron is present in the cereal. In their first test, the cereal is very unlikely to stick to the magnet, and friction is too great to allow the flakes to move on the table or bench surface. Floating the cereal flakes on water reduces friction; however, visible movement is still unlikely.
Additional Learning Objective(s):
Manufacturers add iron to many cereals (fortified) – and other food products such as flour – as a finely divided powder of food-grade material. This is believed to react with stomach acid before passing to the small intestines. The body contains enough iron for two small nails, and it is essential for the production of hemoglobin.
31 to 60 Minutes
Materials and Resources:
Technology Resources Needed:
Computer with Internet access to watch the video on the website: http://science.wonderhowto.com/how-to/remove-iron-from-cereal-302614/
Teacher should have a basic idea that most manufacturers add iron to many cereals (fortified) – and other food products such as flour – as a finely divided powder of food-grade material.
This can be done using the same procedure as for the demonstration. However, it is unlikely that many schools will have sufficient magnetic stirrers, so this alternative may be useful:
In the class experiment, students test whether iron is present in the cereal. In their first test, the cereal is very unlikely to stick to the magnet, and friction is too great to allow the flakes to move on the table or bench surface. Floating the cereal flakes on water reduces friction; however, visible movement is still unlikely. Crushing the cereal to a fine powder reduces the size and mass of the particles, and therefore the friction with the paper as well. Students should be able to separate out fine grey specks of iron in this final step.
If weaknesses are identified while reviewing during the lesson introduction, the teacher can work with students in small groups to address any weaknesses. While students are working to extract the iron, remind them to take their time and there will not be large quantities of iron initially. It will take a few minutes before tiny specks begin to appear. If students have difficulty extracting iron filings, give them permission to watch other students who are successful.
Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom
for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading
or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at
a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with
short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions;
poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.