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Fingerprints Date
Subject/Grade Time
Grade 6 1h 15min
Level Duration

Unit Evidence and investigation Teacher

Students have been working on the evidence and investigation unit now a few days.
They have learned how to analyze speed and direction of footprints, as wells as how to
Lesson observe and classify evidence such as ink and handwriting. In this lesson students will
Overview continue to use their observation skills to analyze the patterns of their own fingerprints
as well as those of their peers. They will then work in groups to complete an exercise
where they investigate latent fingerprints.


General 6-1 Design and carry out an investigation, using procedures that provide a fair test of the
Learning questions being investigated.
Outcomes: 6-2 Recognize the importance of accuracy in observation and measurement; and, with
guidance, apply suitable methods to record, compile, interpret and evaluate observations
and measurements.
6-3 Design and carry out an investigation of a practical problem, and develop a possible
6-8 Apply observation and inference skills to recognize and interpret patterns and to distinguish
a specific pattern from a group of similar patterns
6-9 Apply knowledge of the properties and interactions of materials to the investigation and
identification of a material sample
- KSA: A, C, D, E, F, I, K

Specific 3. Recognize that evidence found at the scene of an activity may have unique
Learning characteristics that allow an investigator to make inferences about the participants
Outcomes: and the nature of the activity, and give examples of how specific evidence may be used
4. Investigate evidence and link it to a possible source; classifying fingerprints collected
from a variety of surfaces

Inquiry How can we use clues, patterns and environmental changes to investigate
Question disturbances?

Questions What makes up a fingerprint?
(These What is a fingerprint pattern?
facilitate What are the four common fingerprint patterns?
and guide What are the three fingerprint patterns we can leave behind?
the lesson)
Students will:
1. Be able to identify patterns found on fingerprints
2.Use critical thinking skills to investigate latent fingerprints and think about challenges that can be
associated with working with latent fingerprints
Observation/Anecdotal Taking in student handouts to ensure they are understanding the concepts
Self-Assessment -Identifying fingerprints
Peer Assessment -Latent fingerprints
Student/Teacher -Exit slip at the end of class: This is in handout form and will allow the the
conferencing students to reflect on their learning and what they need to review.


Ansberry, K., & Morgan, E. R. (2010). Picture-perfect Ink pads
science lessons: Using children's books to guide inquiry. Glass sheets
NSTA Press. Coco powder
Paint brushes
Lohner, S. B. (2017, April 27). Finding Fingerprints. Tape
Retrieved October 29, 2017, from paper

Types of Fingerprints. (2017). Retrieved October 16,

2017, from

Prior to lesson -Prepare the latent fingerprint exercise
-Have students seated in their desks with their science books
-Get fingerprint PowerPoint ready to present
Introduction Time
Attention Grabber -Start by asking students a riddle
- What is something that you always have with you, but always 2min
leave behind? (Answer: Fingerprints)
Assessment of Prior -Once students have figured out the riddle, have students examine
Knowledge their own fingerprints and ask some of them to share.
-What do you notice?
-Do you see any patterns?
-Is it difficult to see patterns?
-What do you know about fingerprints?
Expectations for - Students are expected to be respectful of peers and the
Learning and teacher by listening to each other when someone is
Behavior speaking
- Students will follow classroom rules that have been
established throughout the year.
Transition to Body *Throughout this lesson students should be taking notes in their
science journals*
- This information is found on the fingerprint PowerPoint
-What is a fingerprint? The pattern of ridges and line on the surface of
a persons fingertip. Everyone has a unique set of finger prints, even 15min
twins. Our finger prints are stay the same from the time we are born,
they do not change over time so that makes them very helpful in
identifying people.
-How do we leave finger prints behind?
Our skin releases oils that get caught in the ridges and lines on our
finger prints. So when we touch things we leave behind the oils in the
form of our fingerprints.
-Different kinds of fingerprint patterns
Loops: ridges come from one direction towards the center and return
in the same direction. This is the most common type of fingerprint.
Approximately 65% of the fingerprints are loops
Whorls: ridges that form spirals. Approximately 30% of finger prints
are whorls
Arches: Wave-like ridges that begin on one side and end on the other
side. Arches are the rarest fingerprint pattern making up only about
5% of fingerprints
-Different types of fingerprint impressions
Latent: Fingerprints invisible to the naked eye.
Patent: Fingerprints visible to the naked eye
Plastic: Fingerprint that are visible to the naked eye because they
leave an impression

As a class, we will go through a fingerprint pattern handout to ensure

students feel confident identifying their own fingerprint patterns
Body Time
Learning Activity #1 Exploring patent fingerprint patterns using ink
-Students will work in their table groups (4 students per table)
-Students will use the ink pad that is provided to get each of their
-One finger at a time, students will transfer their print onto the
worksheet provided until they have all ten fingerprints 15min
- Once they have all ten fingerprints they will use their handout to
identify which patterns they have
-Once they are finished they will share with their table mates, and
collect the right thumbprint of each student in their table
Teacher Notes: -Students will hand these sheets in to the teacher and during the
Assessments/ second activity the teacher will go around and take the thumbprint
Differentiation of each student in the group to create a mystery print for students
to identify in activity three
Differentiation: Have copies of the notes from the powerpoint
slides for students if necessary, however, encourage them to still
copy the notes into their science journals. The notes will also be
posted onto the class website for later access.
Formative Assessment: Teacher will check over the worksheet as
students had them in. Looking to ensure they have correctly
identified their fingerprints. This is a formative assessment to
check that they understand fingerprint patterns. Make notes about
each students performance, and check back with students who
were incorrect in their identification.
Learning Activity #2 Exploring latent fingerprint impressions
- This activity requires a sheet of glass, cocoa powder,
clear tape, paint brushes
- First students will choose a finger, they will then press that 25min
finger onto the surface of the sheet of glass
- Then taking the paintbrush students will dip the end in the
coco powder, removing any excess powder
- Using the bush and coco powder students will go over
their fingerprints to make them visible
- Once they have made the fingerprint visible with the coco
powder students will retrieve their print with clear tape
and attach it to their worksheet
- Students will repeat this process two more times with the
same finger, once after washing their hands and again
after applying lotion
Teacher Notes: - Students will be given a handout that guides them through this
Assessments/ process
Differentiation - Prior to beginning this activity, the teacher will do a
demonstration so that students who are visual learners or not
strong readers will still know how to complete the task without
having to rely on reading the step by step instructions
- Students can work in pairs at their table group to complete this
- Students will have the choice within their partner group to either
both participate in the actual fingerprinting or just having one
person test for their fingerprints. This will allow students who
dont feel comfortable with possibly getting their fingers dirty to
still participate
-Both students must still fill out the questions in their handout
Learning Activity #3 The mystery fingerprints.
For this activity, we will go back to the first handout.
-Earlier students gathered the right thumb prints of their table
-And during the second activity the teacher walked around and
gathered the fingerprints of each student, having them place their
right thumb print in the mystery space of one of their tablemates
-Students will now get their worksheets back and will be tasked
with identifying the mystery print.
Teacher Notes: -Teacher will have had to organize all the mystery finger prints
Assessments/ and hand back the worksheets to students
Differentiation - For students who completed a pre-made version of this
worksheet there will also be a pre-made version of the mystery
print where students will still be tasked with matching prints.
Closure Time
Consolidation of Class discussion ask students to share:
Learning: -What are the three types of fingerprints?
-Have a couple students share what their fingerprints patterns
5 min
-Have a couple students talk about the challenges of working with
latent finger prints
Feedback From Assessment: Exit Slip
Students: Have students fill out an exit slip that you provide to assess 3min
understanding of fingerprint patterns and impressions
Transition To Next Next class students will be given a case file where they will put
Lesson everything theyve learned into solving a crime.
A guide to fingerprint patterns: Name:

Fingerprint Type:


Fingerprint Type:

Fingerprint Type:

F.A #1

Investigating your fingerprints.

1. Use the ink pad on your tables to get the impressions of your fingerprints
2. Once your finger is covered in ink use a piece of tape to transfer the print, and
then place the tape on your first circle
3. Once you have collected all your finger prints, use the sheet provided on the back
to identify the patterns of all your patent fingerprints.
4. Once you have identified all of your finger prints, share your findings with a
5. Then collect the right thumbprint of your three table mates
6. Hand in the sheet to you teacher and they will collect a mystery print form one of
your table mates for you to identify at the end of class
F.A #2
Latent Fingerprints
1. Choose one of your fingers and press it down firmly on the sheet of
Can you see your fingerprint?

2. Use your paint brush and the cocoa powder at your table to lightly
dust your fingerprint. *Tip: only the tips of the bristles should be
covered with powder, be sure to remove any excess powder
3. Once youve dusted your print, carefully blow off and excess powder
from the glass surface
4. Next take a piece of tape and carefully press the tape down on your
fingerprint. Then peal the tape off and transfer it to the space

Were you able to successfully transfer your print from the glass to
the paper? If no, explain possible reasons for why not. If yes, does the
print still look the same on the paper as it did on the glass surface?

5. Next go wash your hands with soap and water and repeat steps 1-4
using the same finger as before. Then transfer it to the space below:

Did you get a fingerprint again?

If yes, what does it look like compared to the original print you

Was it easier or harder to see the pattern?

6. Now apply hand lotion and repeat steps 1-4 again using the same
finger. Transfer it to the space below:

Did you get a fingerprint again?

Explain what does it look like compared to the original print you

Was it easier or harder to see the pattern?

7. Finally, if you compare all three prints, do they all look the same?
What were some challenges you ran into during this activity?

Which one can you see the best? Which one can you see the least?
Explain why you think you got the results you did

8. What were some challenges you ran into during this activity?

9. What do you think are some challenges investigators run into

when dusting for fingerprints?
In the space bellow identify the fingerprint patters and back up your answers with scientific




In your own words give a definition for each of the following fingerprint impressions.

Latent fingerprints:

Patent fingerprints: