Submitted by Shane Mauldin, McKinney ISD
Like all great science fair project researchers, 5th grader Zach Garza, is not afraid to ask the tough questions. Like this one: “How Many Nails do you Eat for Breakfast in Your Cereal?” It’s a line of inquiry to which many of us may respond, “I’m not sure I really want to know.”
Unappealing things sometimes end up in the food we purchase, but Garza’s Wilmeth Elementary School science fair project shows that seemingly unappetizing ingredients — namely, small bits of iron — are added to our cereal intentionally, for our benefit, and can be extracted through the use of magnets. It’s rather unsettling, but it’s true.
Garza (pictured at top) pulverized samples of five popular cereals, pulled out the metal and determined that, for the most part, the amount of iron posted in the nutrition information is actually what’s inside the box — little pieces of metal that help our bodies function.
On February 4 – 5, Garza presented his project at the Elementary Regional Science Fair in Garland where he and 21 of his McKinney ISD peers put their respective science fair projects up against the best from Allen, Carrolton-Farmers Branch, Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson.
Garza’s investigation of the great American bowl of cereal earned 1st Place and the Grand Prize, and eight other McKinney ISD students deserve high praise for winning top awards as well.
Here are the results, with names, school/grade, project name and prize following:
—Zach Garza: Wilmeth ES/5, “How Many Nails do You Eat for Breakfast in Your cereal?”, 1st/Grand Prize
—Jackson Mida: McClure/2, “Parachutes: Does Size Matter?”, 2nd Place
—Courtney Stromness & Madi Black: Glen Oaks/5, “Making Dry Ice Last”, 2nd Place
—Mackenzie Bond: Vega/5, “How Fresh Can You Get?”, 3rd Place
—Anna Bose: Wolford/4, “Get Wind of This”, 3rd Place
—Joshua Miller: Vega/3. “Ready Set Burn!”, 3rd Place
—Rose McAllister-Ou: Wolford/1, “Things That Plants Need”, Honorable Mention
—Alyssa Terry: Johnson/5, “How Earthquakes Affect Structures”, Honorable Mention
Garza was surprised and honored to hear his name announced as the Elementary Regional Science Fair Grand Prize winner.
“Wow!” he said. “There were so many other projects that were really good, too. I couldn’t believe mine was picked as the best! I had fun doing the experiment and blending up the cereals. I learned about hemoglobin in your blood and why it is important to have iron.”
And it is very important. So, the next time you kick off your day with a hearty bowl of iron-fortified cereal, enjoy — and try not to think about hardware equipment.
Pictured at top: Wilmeth Elementary 5th grader Zach Garza with his award-winning Regional Science Fair project