There are many kinds of non-living resources that can be obtained by mining. This activity will let you investigate how some energy resources are obtained. You will use the chocolate chips in a chocolate chip cookie to represent a non-renewable energy resource such as coal, natural gas or uranium.
chocolate chip cookies toothpick paper pencil
1. Place one chocolate chip cookie on the paper. Outline the cookie on the paper. Predict the number of chocolate chips that you can remove from your cookie in a two-minute time period.
2. Using the toothpick as a tool, remove as many chocolate chips from your cookie as you can in two minutes. Count the number of chocolate chips that you removed. Was your prediction correct?
3. Examine the cookie that is left. Describe it. Take the pieces of cookie that are left and try to put the cookie, minus the chocolate chips, back together again. What does it look like?
4. Place another chocolate chip cookie on a different piece of paper, and again draw a circle around it. Predict the number of chocolate chips that you can remove from the cookie in a two-minute time period. This time, however, you should try to do as little damage to the cookie as possible as you remove the chocolate chips.
5. Again use the toothpick as a tool to remove as many chocolate chips from your cookie as you can, without damaging it, in two minutes. Count the number of chocolate chips that you removed. Was your prediction correct? Examine the cookie left this time. Describe it. Again try to put the cookie back together.
1. Which cookie produced the most chocolate chips? Which cookie produced the least chocolate chips?
2. Which cookie produced the most damage to the cookie? Which cookie produced the least damage to the cookie?
3. Describe the different processes you used to remove the chocolate chips from the cookie?
4. In this analyogy, the cookie represents the environment and the chocolate chips represent the energy source. What effect does mining energy sources (commonly called energy resources) have on the environment?
5. Changing the way we take an energy resource from the environment could mean a decreased amount of the resource. What would a decreased yield of energy resources mean to consumers, the mining company and society overall?
6. Do you think it is worth getting a reduced yield in order to protect the environment? Explain your answer.
7. How does using less energy result in less need to extract a resource?
- Research and report on actual energy resource extraction practices. Use coal mining, uranium mining, or natural gas or oil drilling as a topic.
- Prepare to debate the issue of the tradeoffs in energy use. On one hand, energy is very useful in our daily lives and the functioning of our communities. On the other hand, energy resource extraction and use has environmental consequences. How should communities balance these two sides of the issue?
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