Crime Scene and Fingerprints

  • Erika 

This week we decided to mix it up a little and learn about fingerprints and crime scenes.

Older Group

We had a ton of fun with the older group! I had set up a faux crime scene prior to class and as class began I split the kids into groups of two and gave them each a case file.

We had a number of stations set up – a fingerprint lab, a tire track database, a license plate database, and suspect information. The kids went through the packet eliminating suspects until they though they figured out who had committed the crime.

It was really funny to watch the kids work on this. As they began, for the most part the girls were all very serious about it all, and three minutes in the boys wanted to guess “whodunit”. Once the boys got into it though, they also got very serious. They all made a big deal about the other teams not seeing what they had figured out.

Younger Group

For the younger group I wanted to keep things more simple, so we just learned about fingerprints. I thought that an entire crime scene would be too much for some of them, but I’m hoping we can do one later this semester.

I had each of the kids fingerprint all the fingers of one hand. To do this we used the “create a stamp pad with a pencil” method. I originally wanted to use actual stamp pads, but while testing it with my kids, I realized that that method was not very forgiving. Rubbing a pencil on a piece of paper and having the kids rub a finger in it, then stick a piece of tape on that finger, and finally pull of the tape and stick on a note card was a much simpler method.

Loop, Whorl, or Arch

After each of the kids was fingerprinted, they looked at a fingerprint chart to determine what kind of fingerprints they had. They were all pretty surprised to find out that most of them had more than one kind of pattern. We then put their card on a giant graph I had made so we could see what the most common type of prints in our group was. Loops won, followed by whorls.

We have several siblings in the class, so the last thing we did was had siblings print one finger each on a card side by side to see if they had the same type of fingerprints. Most were surprised that they did not. We could have talked about why they were different and how fingerprints formed, but we just left it at that.

In between fingerprinting, to keep the kids occupied while they were waiting, we also made butter! I put some heavy cream in containers and had the kids take turns shaking them. A few of the kids had made butter before, but the rest all thought I was crazy. They all thought it was great when we ate our own butter on rolls at the end of class.

We used the following to help with our builds
The Missing Diamond of Macamaca – TPT

Check out what we did last week


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