Atg Logo Vector

Hands on Engineering Activity: Mining Engineering – Chocolate Chip Mining

Learn about mining engineering through this sweet activity!
Hands on Engineering Activity: Mining Engineering – Chocolate Chip Mining - Engineering

The job responsibilities of Mining Engineers include designing layouts for both surface and underground mines, preparation of short- and long-range mine plans and production sequences, selection and scheduling of equipment, designing blast patterns for rock fragmentation and excavation, designing ventilation plans for underground mines, monitoring safety of personnel and equipment, and optimizing processes.

Mining engineers not only plan, design and supervise the exploitation of both the surface and underground mining operations for safe and profitable extraction, but also to bring innovative decisions for making the mining operation sustainable in challenging environmental and difficult market conditions.

Auto Draft -

This month, we’re challenging you to think like a Mining Engineer by extracting chocolate chips out of cookies to demonstrate the effects mining can have on habitats.


  • Chocolate chip cookie – relatively hard cookies are best, M&M cookies will also work
  • Toothpicks – flat tip and pointed
  • Paper plate, wax paper, paper towel or another surface to perform your mining operation on.
  • Cookie Worksheet


  1. Sketch your cookie and the “habitat” surrounding it (the paper plate or towel that your cookie is on). Use your imagination to describe the ecosystem your cookie “lives” in, what other creatures live there, and how humans interact with the environment.
  2. Inspect your cookie land area for surface deposits. How many chocolate chips can you see? How many do you think are in the cookie that you can’t see?

Visible chips ______   Hidden chips ______

  1. Use your toothpicks to carefully mine for chocolate chips (or candy pieces). Store your successfully mined goods off to the side of your mining area and record how many you successfully removed.

  Chips extracted ______ 

  1. After you are done extracting the chocolate chips, put the remaining pieces of the cookie back together as best as you can inspect it again. Record how many chips you can see but couldn’t remove.

Chips left behind ______ 

Auto Draft -

  1. Sketch what your cookie and the surrounding “habitat” looks like AFTER mining. Are there chocolate smears on things? Would the same animals and plants still be able to live in the area?  Describe how the ecosystem has changed, what lives there now, and how we can avoid harming the ecosystem in the future when we mine.
  2.  If you used a soft cookie instead of a hard one, do you think the methodology of mining and the outcomes would be different due to the density of the surrounding material changing?


  • SWE Blog

    SWE Blog provides up-to-date information and news about the Society and how our members are making a difference every day. You’ll find stories about SWE members, engineering, technology, and other STEM-related topics.