How To Play The Game:
Tell the class that they are going to go mining for something that is rare and unique (chocolate chips). Divide the students up into groups (no larger then four (4) per group). Each group is given $19.00 of the Cookie Money along with the Mining Worksheet. They are asked to name their mine and then purchase it. There are two different types of mines that they may buy. The first is a medium grade ore represented by a chocolate chip cookie that could be bought at a store fairly cheap (the chips are small and there are not very many of them in one cookie). The other "deluxe" cookies are high grade ore and contain more and bigger chocolate chips. Each group purchases one mine to start with and then may purchase another if time and/or money permits. Once the cookies have been handed out, tell the students to trace the outline of their cookie onto the graph paper. This is the only time throughout the entire activity that they may touch the cookie with their hands. Students should then count the number of "whole" squares that their cookie covers and record this on their activity sheet. Students do not need to count those squares that are only partially covered.
Remind the students that they are not to touch the cookies with their hands and that they must now purchase tools to extract the chocolate chips.
Before purchasing the tools remind the students that they must also purchase the time to do the work, so they must spend their money wisely. There are three options of tools that may be used: a wooden toothpick, a push pin and a paper clip, all with varying costs. The kids are allowed to bend/break the tools any way that they wish. They may also obtain more tools during the exercise if they have the money to pay for them.
The final thing that the students must purchase is time. Each minute will cost the student one dollar. When the time is expired they may purchase more time if they have the money and if not then, they must stop removing chocolate chips and sit and wait for the other groups to finish. Once the students have purchased their tools as well as time, then they are ready to begin mining. However, the students should not start until you give them the OK as it will make it easier for you to time the entire group at once.
Before beginning the work, tell the students that you will pay them $4.00 for each whole chocolate chip that they extract. If the chips come out in pieces, you will combine the pieces to count as a regular sized chip.
Once the students time is up and the work is complete. the total number of chips that each group extracts should be determined by the group leaders so that it is fair to each group. Once the total number of chips has been determined you may then tell the students to calculate how much money they made or lost. This is found by taking the value of the chips and subtracting the total cost of mining.
The students must then pay for the reclamation of the land. In the past, mine owners have simply come into an area, taken the minerals and left. The result is large open pits and abandoned mine shafts. These dangerous holes have simply been left in the earth. Now the government requires a plan to be developed and implemented to put the land that was mined back into the same, if not better condition than it was before the mining operation began.
After the students have reclaimed the land, see if anyone made a profit. It is very likely that only a few will have made any money and most will be in debt. This exercise shows how mining is not very profitable for the company unless they are getting a high price for the mineral that they are extracting.