Fingerprints are a mysterious collection of whorls and arches. Although each one is different, there are similarities. Students can learn about prints and how to classify them using an interactive whiteboard.
Students begin by learning to identify the general types of fingerprint patterns. Using the whiteboard, they examine the complexities of prints, identifying patterns by name. Next, students study a large picture of a scanned print and use a wireless slate to circle and identify the patterns they have learned. They then take their own prints and label them.
This lesson is part of a forensic-science curriculum that high school students can take as a third-year science class. The lesson can be modified for middle school students as well.
This lesson meets the following standards from Nevada and the International Society for Technology in Education.
- Students know the human body has a specialized anatomy and physiology composed of a hierarchical arrangement of differentiated cells.
- Students know scientific knowledge builds on previous information.
- Students understand and use technology systems.
There are several websites that are useful.
- The History of Fingerprints: onin.com/fp/fphistory.html.
- Latent Print Examination: onin.com/fp/
- History on Fingerprints: www.essortment.com/all/fingerprinthist_rmmv.htm
- Taking Legible Fingerprints: www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/takingfps.html
Students are scored on a review sheet that quizzes them on print type and identification. The wireless-slate activity is a classwide program to allow participation to identify the many characteristics of each print.
- Make sure the print you use is clear and has many distinct details before you scan it.
- To avoid mistakes and wasted time, it helps if your class already knows how to use the wireless slate.
- Be positive and encouraging. It is an easy lesson, but students can apply what they learn here in many other situations.