The Checks Lab

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A group of learners has an envelope containing a series of bank checks. A few checks are removed at a time, and the team attempts to construct a plausible scenario which involves those checks. Each time learners add checks to their collection, their scenario must adapt to new information. Use this as an introduction to the nature of science inquiry -- scientists don't always have all the information, scientists must form interpretations of the information, scientists must work together to come to consensus about interpretations. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model



  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • The Scientific Worldview
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Financial Literacy


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Loundagin, Judy


  • All rights reserved, ENSI (Evolution & the Nature of Science Institutes), 1999