Purpose of the Lesson:
1. To introduce students to forensic science.
2. To show students how science is applied to police work and crime
3. To provide students with practice using the scientific method.
1. Students will be able to list and describe the
three types of fingerprint patterns.
2. Students will be able to list and describe the three types of fingerprints
that can be made.
3. Students will be able to explain why we leave fingerprints.
4. Students will be able to describe four ways used to obtain fingerprints.
5. Students will be able to explain why fingerprinting is important
and useful to police in crime investigations.
1. Overhead projector
2. Overheads of fingerprint patterns and class notes
3. Blank overheads
4. Crime scene tape
5. Magnifying Glasses
7. Blank sheets of paper
8. Ink Pads
9. Wet Naps
11. Cocoa powder
12. Small paint brushes
13. Clear tape
14. Lab sheets
15. Class notes
16. Note cards with crime scene A, crime scene B, suspect A, suspect
B, and victim prints for each student
17. Homework papers
1. Set the crime scene
· Cordon off desk with crime scene tape
· Scatter papers around
· Have "dusting powder" on objects around desk
2. Tell students the "crime" story
· The school was broken into over the weekend
· The perpetrator stole the exams from my desk
· The exams had been graded, but the grades had not been entered
into the grade book
· The class must find the perpetrator or the entire class will
be required to take the exam over again
3. Using the overhead, discuss what clues detectives
would look for and collect from a crime scene
4. Tell students that they have been appointed "apprentice
crime scene investigators" by the police department to help solve
1. Before students arrive, set up crime scene as described
in the anticipatory set. (Day 1)
2. Go over the "crime story," etc. as outlined in the anticipatory
3. Briefly discuss the history of fingerprinting.
4. Using the overhead, show and discuss the characteristics of the three
5. Allow students to examine their own fingerprints with a magnifying
6. Using the overhead notes, discuss why we leave fingerprints, the
types of prints that can be left, and the ways used to obtain fingerprints.
7. Model fingerprinting with a pencil smudge.
8. Allow students to fingerprint themselves with pencil smudges. (End
of Day 1, Beginning of Day 2)
9. Break class into groups of four to five students.
10. Model fingerprinting with ink. (Day 3)
11. Allow groups to fingerprint each other. (Each person in the group
will need everyone's pointer fingerprint to complete the homework.)
12. Model lifting latent fingerprints.
13. Allow students to practice lifting latent prints, then complete
the lab activity.
1. Have students:
· Identify the three types of fingerprint patterns
· Identify the three types of fingerprints that people can leave
· Explain why we leave fingerprints
· Describe four way to obtain fingerprints
2. Have students tell of one new concept they learned
from this lesson.
1. Learning support and lower ability students may
be provided with an outline that has fewer spaces while gifted students
may be provided with a minimal outline or no outline.
2. The lab will be conducted in mixed ability cooperative
learning groups, therefore, no adaptations are required.
1. Homework will consist of a worksheet in which the
students will be required to identify the perpetrator of the test snatching
case. Students will use the crime scene A, crime scene B, suspect A,
suspect B, and victim fingerprints from the note cards to determine
who stole the exams from the teachers desk.
2. Students will be required to defend their conclusion
on the identity of the perpetrator, which will require them to use class
1. Students will be assessed by quizzes throughout
the forensics unit to ensure that they comprehend and can apply the
concepts. For the first quiz, students will be asked questions that
will require them to know the basic facts and procedures involved with
2. At the end of the unit, students will be divided
into groups for a "unit activity." Students will be required
to collect and evaluate evidence from staged crime scenes. The evidence
evaluation will require them to apply the techniques taught throughout
the unit. Students will also be required to develop a report on the
results of their tests and their conclusion about the perpetrator, individually
after collaboration on the data.
1. The lesson will be evaluated based on the homework,
lab handout, and quiz scores throughout the unit. All students will
be expected to receive a minimum score of 80%.
2. The lesson will also be evaluated based on the
final "crime scene" project, on which students will be expected
to receive a minimum score of 80%.
Activities for this lesson were found at the following
March 14, 2002. The authors are Marilyn Fenichel and Don DeMember
March 15, 2002. The author is S. Seagraves.