Digital Skills: Developing Online Assessment Skills in Everyday Classroom Activities Western Reserve Public Media

Cookie Mining
This lesson can be used either exclusively in the science classroom or as a companion activity between science and ELA classes depending on specific classroom circumstances. Even if the lesson is done exclusively in the science classroom, the ELA standards are still included and addressed. It can also be adapted to fit the needs of science classes from 7-12th grades, thus the standards listed will be generalized by strand rather than grade level.

I can:
  • evaluate and analyze the impact of man's use of earth's land, water, and atmospheric resources.

  • Use data collection tools during a lab experience

  • Write a laboratory reflection using evidence from a lab experience to connect with informational text that reflects real world mining scenarios (i.e., lifestyle, personal, business, and environmental impacts)

Tech Skills:
  • Keyboarding

  • Editing/Annotation

  • Spreadsheets

Materials and Resources:

Video/Audio of songs:
“Coal Miner’s Daughter” - Loretta Lynn
“Working in a Coal Mine” - Devo
“16 Tons” - Tennessee Ernie Ford

Text of Songs:
“Coal Miner’s Daughter” - Loretta Lynn
“16 Tons” - Tennessee Ernie Ford
“Working in a Coal Mine” - Devo

Articles on Mining & Reclamation:
“Mining Impacts” - Greenpeace
“Reclamation” - National Mining Association

Cookie Mining Lab Instructions
Lab Report Instructions

Mining Budget Spreadsheet - formulas included
Grade Level:
  • 7th-12th Grades

Subject Area:
  • Science and ELA

Activity 1

Close reading:
Students are given one of three texts:

  • “Working in a Coal Mine” – Devo
  • “Coal Miner’s Daughter” – Loretta Lynn
  • “16 Tons” – Tennessee Ernie Ford

Students will read each text multiple times. Each time with a different lens.

  • 1st read – Students read the text and then write down their “first impressions” and how the text relates to coal mining (look for mining terms). Think-Pair-Share
  • 2nd read – Students circle/highlight words and phrases that provide details about the “mining lifestyle.” Each student will submit his/her words and phrases (Teacher will display the results in the form of a word cloud and discuss with students the common terms)

Discuss whether the words/phrases in the word cloud have positive or negative connotation.
After discussing and examining the word cloud, the teacher will pose this question: Why do you think all three texts use more negative words/phrases than positive? Students will respond to this question using a Google doc. These responses will be recorded, and referred back to at the end of the lesson.


Activity 2

Step 1: Budget for Mining Activity
Students will be given $19 of mining money and a budget document to plan for the purchase of their mine, land and needed supplies.

Teacher will monitor and make suggestions.
Step 2: Purchase Supplies for Mining
Students will use their mining money to purchase necessary supplies and tools for lab. Teacher will act as the clerk and "sell" items to students.

  • Students complete planning sheet
  • Teacher will spot check with students individually to see if they were successful in the purchase of needed supplies and tools with the allotted budget.


Activity 3

Mining and Reclamation
(play the three songs examined during the close reading as the “timers”)

Step 1:
Play “Working in a Coal Mine” – The students will be given a set amount of time to Mine their cookie for "ores” following the directions provided. After the first song ends, teacher will check with students to see if they need to purchase more supplies.
Step 2:
Play “Coal Miner’s Daughter” – After the song is over, teacher will check with students to see if they need to purchase more supplies.
Step 3:
Play “16 Tons” – Students will complete the process of reclamation on their graph paper with the cookie scraps after the ores are removed.

  • Students complete lab sheet
  • Students will complete the mining lab sheet and calculate if they have a profit of loss.

Reflect on the planning, mining, and reclamation process in the lab. Based on evidence from your lab data/notes, write a letter to your wife and children detailing your job.


Activity 4

Step 1
Students will be assigned to one of three groups to examine these texts about the reclamation process.

Each group of students will read both texts, but they will be assigned to annotate the texts for specific content as follows:

  •  One group of students will read the texts to look for the process of reclamation.
  •  One group of students will read the texts to look for benefits of reclamation.
  •  One group will read the texts to identify challenges presented by reclamation.

Students will type their notes into a chart in a Google doc.
Students will be redistributed into groups of 3 (jigsaw). Each member of the group will share his/her expertise with the group.
After students have shared, teacher will facilitate a group discussion about reclamation using the information from the chart in the Google doc.
Step 2
Each student will write a one paragraph to answer each of the following questions:

Compare the lab reclamation process to the reclamation processes described in the texts you examined? Cite evidence from your lab/data notes and supporting evidence from the texts.

Reclamation sounds like a good idea, but based on evidence from your lab work, what are some challenges that make reclamation difficult? Cite evidence from the lab/data notes and supporting evidence from the texts.

How would you change your approach to reclamation if you had known from the beginning of the lab that you would have to put everything back together? Cite evidence from your lab/data notes.

How is each of the songs we examined before the lab representative of the coal mining lifestyle? Use lines from the songs as well as evidence from your lab work.


Content Statement (Earth & Space Science):

Earth’s resources can be used for energy.
Many of Earth’s resources can be used for the energy they contain. Renewable energy is an energy resource, such as wind, water or solar energy, that is replenished within a short amount of time by natural processes. Nonrenewable energy is an energy resource, such as coal or oil, that is a finite energy source that cannot be replenished in a short amount of time.

*Can be applied in 7-8th grade as well as in high school courses in Physical and Environmental Science

ELA Standards
These standards apply 7-12 and have various levels of complexity depending on the grade level you choose to use this lesson. Included here are the general strands for the standard. Refer to Ohio’s ELA Standards (2017) for grade level specifics.

RI 7-12.1 - Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI 7-12.8 - Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text.

RI 7-12.9 Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

W 7-12.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

W 7-12.8 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently, as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

W 7-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

SL 7-12.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners

SL 7-12.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats

Supplementary Resources:

In addition to resources listed in this lesson plan, the digital tools listed below could also be utilized to complete some of the activities that use Google Docs as a means of collaborative sharing and reporting

  • Padlet is a website that allows for audience engagement for planning, answering questions, and general responses/ideas. We use it most frequently as a parking lot, exit ticket, or backchannel. Students can type responses, add files, add pictures, and links. Many options for reporting including a transcript of all responses. There are multiple options for moderation as well. Accessible from any wireless enabled device that accesses the internet.

  • – Socrative is another option for student response and engagement. It allows for “on the go” questions, exit tickets, and individual and group quizzes. Three different question types are available (T/F, multiple choice & free response). Reporting allows teachers to review individual student responses. Spread sheets are color coded (green/red) to get a quick overview of student progress.

  • – Schoology is a FREE learning management system (LMS) that can be used for content delivery, testing, assignment submissions, discussion boards, and much more. The discussion board restricts students from seeing other discussion posts until he/she submits a post. It also allows for easy grading/evaluation of student responses and discourse.


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