Solving Crimes with Fingerprints
4th Grade Research and Inquiry Resources
• Students will use the Internet to read a mystery story about using forensic evidence to solve a crime.
• Students will learn more about how fingerprints are taken and used.
• Students will write a mystery about a crime that is solved by using fingerprint evidence.
The site Forensics by Kalia and Carolyn is a science discovery site developed by PBSKidsGo! The site contains a mystery story and three activities for identifying fingerprints, tread patterns, and splashes and splatters.
• Have students pass around each other's fingerprint samples so they can see how everyone's fingerprints are different. Discuss the ways in which various people's fingerprints may differ.
• Have students try to guess which fingerprits belong to which students without looking at the person's name.
• If a photocopier is available, have students make enlarged photocopies of their fingerprints so they can examine the details of their fingerprints more easily. Students may then label the enlarged copies with their names and hang them up around the classroom.
• Have students connect to http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/show/forensics.html. Then have students:
complete the third activity in the What Can You Do? section of the Web site.
turn their backs as their partner throws a water balloon from any location they choose. Have students guess the launching point of their partner's balloon based on the splashes and splatters.
perform a mystery skit that involves solving a crime using fingerprints and/or splashes and splatters.