May 27 2008

Classroom Identity

Students use interactive whiteboards to learn about fingerprints.

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.

Lesson Description:

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.

Subject Area:

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.

Curriculum Standards:

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.

Grading Rubric:

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.

Teaching Tips:

  • 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.