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Mojave's Summer Science Academy learns about mining


Denise Talvitie, of the Golden Queen Mining Company LLC, in Mojave, a 30 plus year mining professional and an 18 year member of Women in Mining introduced mining to about 40 kids on June 25. The kids, ranging in age from eight to junior high school, are attending Mojave’s Summer Science Academy.

Through the Women in Mining’s educational division, Talvitie, using chocolate chip cookies, was able to present mining and much that goes into mining to the children who excel in science.

“We give them a piece of graph paper, a cookie and a toothpick,” Talvitie explained.

“The children (and teachers as well) are given a worksheet, to see if they can make a profit with their “Cookie Mining” companies.

“The kids start with a $20 bank. They name their cookie mine and then they choose to purchase their equipment. They get to choose from a flat or round toothpick or a paperclip,” Talvitie said.

“This is a great way to show them that less expensive equipment is not always the best choice in business. For example, the flat toothpicks are not as strong and durable as the round tipped toothpicks or the paper clip(s). The cost and success of the tools fluxuates with each choice,.“ and some of the students end up needing to purchase more of the less expensive tools to mine their chocolate chips which turns out costing them more in operating costs.” Talvitie said, “It turns out to be a great example for the students.”

Cindy Cain, also from Golden Queen Mining Company, handed out cookies to the children, letting the kids pick the soft chocolate chip cookies or the hard cookies.

“We are often asked, ‘can we eat the cookie?’ and sometimes we even have to hand out new mining cookies to the kids and teachers alike,” Talvitie said with a light chuckle. But then the mining begins.

“Students ‘mine’ (pick out) the chocolate chips from the cookies,” Talvitie said.

“The soft and hard cookies work as a great example of the different types of soil that miners encounter.

“A worksheet helps students calculate how much money they spent on mining equipment, labor costs, chip recovery (from the cookies/dirt) and if they spill cookie crumbs out beyond the circle of their cookie… well, that gives us the opportunity to teach them about the reclamation that many mine sites are responsible for,” Talvitie explained.

“Once the calculations are done, the income of their mine is compared to the cost of doing business and we find out if their mining operation was profitable or not,” Talvitie added.

Talvitie is pleased to be able to be an active part of the resources out there for teachers to help students learn how mining directly relates to our standard of living.

“We are lucky that we have educational programs that are adaptable to students from kindergarten to… well, any age,” Talvitie said. “ We have more than just the ‘Cookie Mining’ to involve students. We even teach students about minerals by making toothpaste,” Talvitie said with a smile.

If teachers and others have any questions about scheduling her to assist in mining education, Denise Talvitie can be reached by calling (661) 824-4300 or by emailing her at [email protected]


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