Written by Jeremy John Ahouse and
We've all got 'em, and yet they distinguish us from one another
so that fingerprints were sometimes all that kept Joe out of prison
for the theft Tom committed. Even with sophisticated DNA testing
and other identification techniques, fingerprinting remains an
intriguing and reliable method. Students love the idea--and that's
the inspiration for this guide.
In these "fingers-on" activities, students explore the
similarities and variations of fingerprints. They take their own
fingerprints (using pencil and transparent tape), devise their
own classification categories, and apply their classification
skills to solve a crime. The mystery scenario, Who Robbed the
Safe?, includes plot and character sketches; we also encourage
teachers to create characters and plots to develop their own mysteries.
Makes a good "partner in crime" to Crime
Lab Chemistry and an excellent preparatory activity for
See the Fingerprinting online orientation
Comment on this GEMS unit.
NSTA Recommends Fingerprinting
"Fingerprinting has me excited to have my students
solve a mystery, this time the mystery of "Who Robbed the
Safe?" As they classify, make observations, and draw inferences
from those observations, students are actively involved in doing
science. Each session is fully supported with handouts and answer
keys, including fingerprint samples
inquiry-based lesson guide is ideal for the teacher of grades
4-8 who can handle an active classroom."
National Science Teachers Association Recommends
Spanish Language Student Materials
What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.