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Title:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Mining
Level:  Primary, Middle
Time:  1 Class Period


You are a research scientist for a mining company.  You work in a laboratory that investigates methods of getting useful minerals from rocks.  You have just been sent a sample of rock that seems to have small pieces of a valuable mineral mixed up with unwanted waste material.  The mineral is dark brown.  The waste is paler. 


  1. Package chocolate chip cookies (softer cookies will make it easier to get the chips out)

  2. Paper clips

  3. Toothpicks

  4. Another type of cookie with raisins, M&M, etc. (optional)


Find a method for separating the valuable mineral from the rock sample.  Describe it below.


Before you begin to separate the mineral from the waste, measure the mass and volume of one cookie.  When you have separated the mineral from the waste, measure the mass and volume of the mineral and the waste.  Include data from several other groups. 

Sample Mass of Cookie Volume of Cookie Mass of Mineral Chips Volume of Mineral Chips Mass of Waste Volume of Waste

Compare your results with those of the other groups.  Does the amount of valuable mineral seem to be about the same in each rock sample? 


Compare the volume of waste rock with the volume of the original sample.  Is it possible to put the waste back into the hole made during the mining?


If a second "rock" is available, try to see if you can extract the mineral more efficiently.  What did you discover?




Adapted from EarthNet activities