Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cookie Mining

Sweet is studying nonrenewable resources in science. We started using Lesson Pathways but Sweet really didn't like the reading material. We are now using the renewable energy lessons from Infinite Power for our main reading with Lesson Pathways for hands on activities. This week she did a little Cooking Mining. She learned quite a bit about mining and running a business. It was an eye opener.

She started off with $19.00. She had the choice of buying land in one of three states. Each state was represented by a different kind of chocolate chip cookie. She also had her choice of "tools" to buy. Each "state" and "tool" cost a different amount.
Montana was Mrs. Field's peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and cost $3.00.
Pennsylvania was a Mrs. Field's triple chocolate cookie and cost $5.00.
Kentucky was a Mrs. Field's white chocolate chip cookie and cost $7.00.
The tools of the trade included a flat toothpick for $2.00, a round toothpick for $4.00 and a paperclip for $6.00.
Sweet chose Pennsylvania, a round toothpick and a paperclip.


Her initial gross start up costs was $15.oo.
Her operating capital was $4.00.

She next took her land acquisition and traced it on grid paper. This information was to record the size of her property for later in the project.
The goal was to mine for chocolate chips using only the purchased tools. The timer was set for 5 minutes.
And she's off.
This is the only picture I got of the mining process. I didn't even get a picture of the mined chips. I guess I just got too excited! In all she mined for 5 minutes and extracted whole chips and chip pieces. After putting the pieces together we decided she had 10 whole chips.

For each minute it took her to mine she was charged $1.00 labor and for each chip extracted she earned $2.00.

x 5 minutes labor
$5.00 labor costs

x 10 chips mined
$20.00 gross profit

But we weren't done yet. At the beginning of the project, you will remember that Sweet traced her property on the graph paper and counted how many squares it covered. Pennsylvania covered 103 squares. This is where land reclamation comes in. Land reclamation is the process of restoring and/or improving the land that is mined. Basically, the land is preserved and nature protected. She had to put her property back the way it was or improve it.

Using only her purchased equipment, she reclamated the land. All of the land, minus the chips, had to be put back into the original 103 squares. It was tricky.
She stacked, pushed, pulled and stabbed the cookie pieces. Photobucket
Restoring the land was hard and improving the land even harder. This gave us ample opportunity to talk about water run off, decomposition, get the point.
As you can see, the reclamation didn't go so well. Because she didn't reclamate the land to state and federal standards, she was fined. This part was tricky for me. I once was asked to judge a friendly gymnastics competition between Sweet and a friend of hers during class. Sweet didn't talk to me for hours afterward. I could see that happening again. So, since we were at my mom and dad's house, I called for reinforcements.

Grandma looked at the graph paper and said, "What does reclamation mean Sweet? Is this land back to normal or improved? I don't think so!" I inwardly smiled. You go mom!

Grandma concluded that the land now went outside the original claim by 2 squares by pushing all the crumbs together. And for each of those 2 squares Sweet was charged $1.00. Sweet is still talking to my mom which is more that would have happened if I were the one to make this decision.

Her final cost analysis worksheet turned out like this:

$19.00 start up money
-$5.00 land acquisition
-$4.00 equipment cost
-$6.00 equipment cost
$4.00 operating capital
-$5.00 labor
+$20.00 gross profit
-$2.00 land reclamation fines
-$19.00 start up money
-$2.00 Total Net Loss

Sweet was pretty bummed by this whole course of events. Even though it looked like she had made a profit of $17.00, after she subtracted her start up money, she was actually in the hole. Thus the way a business works.

The best part of this whole activity for Sweet (and the boys) was how to dispose of the unused/unwanted land. Sweet had a pretty good idea.Photobucket

(c) 2008-2009 Wicked Pickles-Homefront Lines

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