Grades 4—8

Written by Jeremy John Ahouse and Jacqueline Barber

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 Mystery Festival.

See the Fingerprinting online orientation video.

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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… This classroom-tested, inquiry-based lesson guide is ideal for the teacher of grades 4-8 who can handle an active classroom."
–National Science Teachers Association Recommends

Out of Print

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Spanish Language Student Materials

What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.

ISBN: Grade Level Format Price
0-924886-41-2 4—8 3 Sessions,
72 pages

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