Activity: The Most Delicious Mine

Chocolate chip cookie on grid paper, some chocolate chips removed or “mined” from the product beside it
  • 45-60 minutes
    • Individual
  • Grades 4 - 8
  • Ages 8-10, 11-14
  • Flat surface

Use chocolate chip cookies to explore the mining process by extracting valuable chocolate chip ore in a sustainable way.

Take a moment to think about your day so far. Did you have a shower? Brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush? Eat a breakfast cereal with added iron? Check out some new videos on TikTok or YouTube? All these activities involved things that contain minerals, and those minerals were produced by the Earth. We interact with minerals every single day and we rely on mining for our everyday life. It’s nearly impossible to imagine going about our day to day lives without using things that rely on mining in some way.

Learning Goals

  • Learn the basic principles of the mining process.
  • Explore the roles of various stakeholders in the mining process.
  • Analyze the factors that contribute to sustainable and responsible mining.
  • Adjust your actions to aid in the reclamation process.

Background Information

Mining is an industry that is important in all aspects of our modern lives – from how we get around, to how we feed ourselves, to how we treat our illnesses, and more.

In countries like Canada, the mining industry provides people with high-paying jobs and often leads to the communities around mines to grow and be successful. The jobs created by mining include more than just the people who work in the mine; for example, the makers and sellers of hardhats, steel-toed boots, and other vital vendors of safety equipment also get work when a mine opens.

A successful mine takes into account the opinions and needs of many different community stakeholders --  people in a variety of roles who must cooperate to create a working mine that takes into account the following four things: 

  • Production - how much the mine is producing
  • Market - whether or not people need or want to buy what the mine is producing
  • Sustainability - whether or not the mine is managing the resources in a way that maintains an ecological balance
  • Ethical responsibilities for the local and global communities - whether or not the mine is operating in a fair and honest way with the stakeholders in the surrounding community and in the rest of the world

In the Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures, you can explore how different stakeholders in and around a mine work together to ensure that it operates successfully and sustainably by playing the Barrick Gold Corporation Gallery's interactive Challenge of Mining game. To play, you and your teammates must make decisions in different roles in order to create balance between production, market, sustainability, and ethical responsibilities. 

Each role is equally important to ensure a successful mine! These stakeholders have to answer some complicated questions like: 

  • Is this the best place to look for this raw material? How much of it should be mined? 
  • Are there people who are interested in this ore? Why would people want to buy this product from us? 
  • Is our mining operation harming the environment around us? 
  • How are we treating the people who live around our mine? Are they benefitting from us being here? 

Each of these questions requires different people to help make sure that the mine is being operated ethically and sustainably. Some of the roles that are important in a mine include mine managers and workers, environmentalists, government officials, the local community, and even you, as a global consumer. 

During this activity, you will get to play many of the roles mentioned above. Like a Government Official, you have to take into account the community, the need for the ore (chocolate is in high demand!), and how this will affect the environment (the cookie) and economy (the amount of money you have at the end of the activity).


  • Play money ($20 for each participant)
  • Grid paper (1 sheet for each participant)
  • Mining Rules and Cost Regulation Worksheet (1 sheet for each participant) 
  • Chocolate Chip Mining Worksheet (1 sheet for each participant)
  • Chocolate chip cookie (1 for each participant)
  • Pencil, pen, or coloured pencil
  • Toothpicks and/or paper clips

You can access the Cookie Mining Printable Resources online here.


  • Ensure that you have a flat surface to place your grid paper on. This is where you will be mining.
  • Ensure that you have printed the grid paper, Mining Rules and Cost Regulation Worksheet, and the Chocolate Chip Mining Worksheet before you begin the activity. 
  • Ensure that you have printed the play money or choose another form of currency. One example could be using 20 grapes or raisins as currency. 
  • If you don’t have access to a printer, create your own mining worksheet and grid paper (10 squares across, 10 squares down, each square 2.5cm in length and width) and refer to the rules and costs online. 
  • If you don’t have access to a printer, you can also keep a “tab” of how much money you have spent and how much money you have left on a separate sheet of paper.


Step 1

Chocolate chip cookie on grid paper, toothpick, and paperclip on the paper, beside the Chocolate Chip Mining Worksheet

Give each player:

  • $20 of play money
  • Grid paper
  • Mining Rules and Cost Regulation Worksheet
  • Chocolate Chip Mining Worksheet

Step 2

Each participant must choose one and only one mining property (a cookie) and purchase it for $5

This purchase makes you the Mining Manager - the decisions you make now will affect the mine and the people working in it. 

Step 3

As the Mining Manager, decide what equipment you will use and how much money you will spend. The costs are:  

  • Toothpick (Mining Equipment) - $3.00 each 
  • Paper Clips (Mining Equipment) - $4.00 each 

Remember, you are also the miner working in the mine, so make sure you choose tools that work for you.

Step 4

Chocolate chip cookie on grid paper, toothpick, and paperclip on the paper, with a circle drawn from the outline of the cookie beside it

Put your grid paper on a flat surface. Place the cookie on the paper and trace the outline of it onto the grid paper.

Step 5

Count all the squares that the cookie covers. Any partially covered squares must be counted as full squares. Fill out this information on the Chocolate Chip Mining Worksheet. 

This cookie outline represents the local community and the environment that your mining is affecting. It will also show you the amount of space you need to put your cookie back together in, for reclamation. The more pieces your cookie ends up in, the more it’s going to cost you to reclaim your mine.

Step 6

Chocolate chip cookie on grid paper in circle, toothpick poised to begin mining. Hand visible to begin the mining process

Read over the mining rules:

  1. You cannot use your hands to hold your cookie. 
  2. Only the mining equipment you bought can be used to touch the cookie throughout the entire mining process. 
  3. Each chocolate chip that you mine is worth $1.00. Broken chocolate chips can be combined to make a whole one. 
  4. Every five minutes you mine costs $2.00! Make sure you mine in a time-effective way.
  5. You have to put the cookie back together at the end of activity, so make sure you mine in a way that is not too hard to put back together. You can only put the cookie back together with your mining tools - no hands allowed!

Step 7

Chocolate chip cookie on grid paper, toothpick on paper. Paperclip in hand, moving chocolate chips into a separate pile.

Mine for chocolate chips, keeping the rules in mind. They will help you make informed decisions about which chocolate chips to mine and how many you should take. Keep going until you think you have mined a sustainable amount of chocolate chips.

Step 8

Chocolate chip cookie on grid paper, pile of chocolate chips beside it. Paperclip moving cookie fragments back into the original cookie outline.

Pick up the cookie and put it back in the original grid space. If it’s all in one piece, it will cost you $3.00 to reclaim your mining land. If the cookie has crumbled because of the chocolate chips you removed, it means your mining caused environmental damage. Do your best to move the cookie crumbs with your mining tools back into the original circle you drew before you began mining. Each square covered by a piece of broken cookie will cost another $3.00.

Step 9

Complete the Chocolate Chip Mining Worksheet and figure out your final bank balance.

If your mine had a good balance between production, market, sustainability, and ethical responsibility, you should have a bank balance after reclamation that is MORE than $20. How did your mine do?

Step 10

Have your teacher or parent share a picture of your chocolate chip pile to @ROMtoronto with the #ROMLearning tag so you can compare your results with other miners doing this activity!


Helpful Tips:

  • Ensure that you set up on a flat surface. If you’re not on a flat surface, you will have difficulty with this activity. 

Safety Notes:

  • Make sure that you use caution while working with your “mining tools.” Paper clips and toothpicks can be sharp! 


Discussion Questions:

  • Why did you pick the chocolate chip cookie that you did? Did you see lots of chocolate chips on top? Were there a lot of chocolate chips throughout the cookie? 
  • Why did you pick the “mining tool” that you did? Do you think you would have had different results if you used a different tool? 
  • When planning to mine, did you take the “mining cost” into account? Why or why not? 
  • Did you find it difficult to get all the pieces of cookie back into the original circle on the grid? Why do you think that was?  
  • Imagine there were people living on the cookie before you started mining it. How would they feel about the way you left it? What could you do to fix it?

Teacher Reflection:

Do the students' answers reflect a basic understanding of the mining process?

Do the students' answers reflect an understanding of the difficulty of reclamation, especially in returning the cookie to the exact same size it was before the “mining” started? 

Extension Activities

If you would like more of a challenge, compare different types of chocolate chip cookies after mining the chocolate chips. Which cookie yielded the most chocolate chips? 

With your teachers or parents, search the #ROMLearning tag to see if anyone else has shared their results. How did your mine compare to theirs?


Environmentalist: In the context of mining, an environmentalist is an advocate for the environment. They ensure that a mine is doing all it can to be sustainable and do the least amount of damage to the land and environment it’s on.
Global Consumer: A person, from anywhere in the world, who purchases goods and/or services for their personal use. In the context of mining, a global consumer would be anyone who purchases something that has components from that mine in them. This could be anything from satellite parts to iron-enriched breakfast cereal.
Government Official: In the context of mining, the government official is a representative who looks after the well-being of the community, environment, and economy.
Local Community: In the context of mining, the local community is the group of people most affected by the mining work being done. A mine can create new jobs, bring more people to their town, and ultimately help raise the economy of the local community. It can also damage the environment, the health, and the livelihoods of people who depend on the surrounding land if done poorly, which is why careful research and planning is so important.
Mine Manager: Manages the daily operations of the mine and ensures that the mine workers have all they need to perform their work in a safe and timely manner.   
Mine Workers: The people who are actually “mining” in the mines.  These are the people who dig for ore, find and sort the product, and begin its production journey. 
Ore: A material that contains a valuable metal or mineral. Ore can contain all kinds of things: gold, iron, etc. In this activity, it’s the cocoa in the chocolate chips!
Reclamation: Refers to the process of bringing something back to how it originally was. In the context of mining, reclamation happens when the mining process is over and the land must be turned back to how it was originally. If that can’t be done, it must return as close as possible to how it was originally; this is the law in Canada.