Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Chip Mining

Today in Science we started a new unit - Conserving Resources. I am super excited about this chapter because it talks about a LOT of super interesting things: fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, pollution, and then the general 3 Rs. The week before I leave, the students will make solar cookers to better illustrate solar power and how people in less wealthy countries heat their food. I am so looking forward to this whole chapter!

We kicked off Conserving Resources today by mining chocolate chips out of cookies. This helped the students understand how coal mining affects the environment in a negative way. They each received a chewy chocolate chip cookie and a toothpick, and their task was to get all the chips out. Afterward, they needed to restore the "land" to its original condition.

Here, two of my students work diligently to extract all their "coal"!
In the end, they found that it was next to impossible to restore their "land" to its original condition. This led to a discussion about the various organisms that depend on this land for survival, and how their living conditions are influenced by our need for coal and other mineral deposits. We all agreed that our country should look to alternative energy sources to heat our homes and get electricity!

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