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Metal particles surrounding a magnet

I’m feeling pretty heavy with all this metal in me

If you sit there and ponder the foods that you eat for a bit, you’ll realize that you eat plants and animals just like other fuzzy creatures in the forest. But did it ever occur to you that you eat metal too? Just like a tool grinder chews through a metal blade, little scientists chew through metal in their food without even really thinking about it. Even more eye opening is the fact that metal in your diet is required to survive.

Iron is a part of everyone’s healthy diet and yes, it’s the exact same iron that’s used to make metal nails. Oxygen is transported through your body in your blood and iron is required in the blood for the oxygen to cling too. The oxygen piggybacks on the iron and is carried throughout your bodies to all of the individual cells. If you do not consume enough iron, your body will be short on oxygen and you will feel tired. Minerals such as iron are very important to your health.

  1. Take a breakfast cereal that is high in iron and crumble it to powder
  2. Mix water with the cereal powder to make a very watery solution
  3. Take a magnet and stir the cereal powder mixture around for a while
  4. Examine the magnet. You will see particles of iron clinging to the magnet.

Strangely enough, having too much iron in your body can lead to a condition called hemochromatosis. Some people supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals including iron. Taking in too much overloads the body with iron. The symptoms of this iron overload? Very similar to the symptoms of an iron shortage – feeling tired and weak.

Parent/Teacher/Advanced Notes

Anemia occurs when your blood doesn’t have enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. All parts of your body need oxygen. Anemia can starve your body of the oxygen it needs to survive. Some people refer to anemia as “low blood”. Many things can lead to anemia. Your body may not make enough blood or you may lose too much blood from bleeding. Possible causes include low vitamin B12 or folic acid intake and some chronic illnesses. But the most common cause is not having enough iron in your blood. Iron is a mineral the body needs to make hemoglobin. Anemia due to low iron levels is called iron deficiency anemia.

Note: Please note that parent notes are for parents and pots of gold are for kids…

Pot of Gold Mini

Experiment Supplies

Supplies: Cereal, Magnet


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