Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

Cookie Mining

Women in Mining

Activity Source:

Adapted from Women in Mining Education Foundation Activities


The purpose of this activity is to give the player an introduction to the economics of mining. Each player buys “property,” purchases the “mining equipment,” pays for the “mining operation,” and finally pays for the “reclamation.” In return, the player receives money for the “ore mined.” The object of the game is to develop the mine, safeguard the environment, and make as much money as possible.


  • play money ($19 for each student)
  • grid paper (1 sheet for each student)
  • chocolate chip cookie (1 for each student)
  • toothpicks (flat and round)
  • paper clips
  • paper towels (for clean-up)


  1. Each player starts with $19 of play money.

  2. Each player receives a Cookie Mining sheet and a sheet of grid paper.

  3. Each player must buy his/her own “mining property” which is a chocolate chip cookie. Only one “mining property” per player. Two to three types of cookies should be “for sale”; one cheaper one with fewer chocolate chips than the other and another more pricey cookie with more chocolate chips. For example, sell “Chips Ahoy” cookies for $5.00 and “Chips Deluxe” for $7.00. Players choose their “properties” knowing that the more chips they harvest, the more profit they make.

  4. After buying the cookie, the player places it on the grid paper and, using a pencil, traces the outline of the cookie. The player must then count each square that falls inside the circle, recording this number on the Cookie Mining Spreadsheet along with the properties of the cookie. Note: Count partial squares as a full square.

  5. Each player must buy his or her own “mining equipment.” More than one piece of equipment may be purchased. Equipment may not be shared between players. Mining equipment for sale is
    Flat toothpick — $2.00 each
    Round toothpick — $4.00 each
    Paper clips — $6.00 each

  6. Mining costs are $1.00 per minute.

  7. Sale of a chocolate chip mined from a cookie brings $2.00 (broken chocolate chips can be combined to make one whole chip).

  8. After the cookie has been “mined,” the cookie fragments and crumbs should be placed back into the circled area on the grid paper. This can only be accomplished using the mining tools — No fingers or hands allowed.

  9. Reclamation costs are $1.00 per square over original count. (Any piece of cookie outside of original circle counts as reclamation.)

  1. Players cannot use their fingers to hold the cookie. The only things that can touch the cookie are the mining tools and the paper on which the cookie is sitting.
  2. Players should be allowed a maximum of five minutes to mine their chocolate chip cookie. Players who finish mining before the five minutes are used up should only credit the time spent mining.
  3. A player can purchase as many mining tools desired; the tools can be of different types.
  4. If the mining tools break, they are no longer usable and a new tool must be purchased.
  5. The players that make money by the end of the game win.

All players win at the end of the game because they get to eat the remains of their cookie!


The game provided each player an opportunity to make the most money possible with the resources provided. Decisions were made by each player to determine which properties to buy and which piece or pieces of mining equipment should be purchased.

Each player should have learned a simplified flow of an operating mine. Also, each player should have learned something about the difficulty of reclamation, especially in returning the cookie to the exact size that it was before “mining” started.