Iron is a metal that is very commonly found on the Earth and even in the Sun and other stars. Because it is so common and has many uses, it is the most used and cheapest of all metals.
Iron has a long history of being used in building bridges, ships, and buildings. Today, steel is one of the most desired building materials for bridges and skyscrapers, but guess what! Steel is made from iron, mixed with carbon or other elements.
Iron is also one of only three metals that can be turned into magnets, so that colorful thing sticking to your refrigerator probably has some iron in it and so does your refrigerator door! Magnets are very important, as they are used in many electronic devices, like TVs and computers.
Iron has also been used in making ink, coins, and furniture too!
This special metal also has nutritional value. That may sound strange, but Iron in microscopic (tiny!) pieces can be found in many of the foods we eat, like spinach, many meats and beans too.
Eating the right kind of iron can be healthy! Iron in our blood helps carry oxygen to all the different parts of our bodies. Too much of it though can make you sick, so always check with a grown-up to make sure what you’re eating is okay. Don’t eat the kind of iron that you use for building or for magnets, or the kind that’s found in the ground though! Those would be yucky and not healthy.
ExplorationA Sticky Situation!
Magnets are attracted to only three metals: nickel, cobalt, and iron. Chances are that if a magnet sticks to something in your home, you’ve found some iron (because it is the most used metal!)
Grab a magnet from your refrigerator and see what iron things you can find around your home. Don’t touch your iron to any electronic equipment or anything electrical though“”it might cause damage. So keep the magnet away from things like TVs, clocks, and computers (and also credit cards), and try sticking the magnet to things like table legs and doorknobs.
What sticks and what doesn’t? If the magnet doesn’t stick, what metals might an object be made out of? (HINT: try sticking the iron to some aluminum foil.)
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