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Super Science @ Your Library
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Inventors and Inventions



Children will learn how to identify fingerprints and how each fingerprint is unique. They will also learn about the history of forensic science.
Grade Level: 3-5



Gardner, Robert
Forensic Science Projects with a Crime Lab You Can Build
Describes how to build a crime lab out of everyday materials so that things like fingerprints and handwriting can be analyzed.
Obrist, Jurg
Case Closed?!: 40 Mini-Mysteries for You to Solve
The reader can use visual clues and deductive reasoning to help Daisy and Ridley solve forty puzzling mysteries.
Platt, Richard
Find out how bloodstains, footprints, and fingerprints can lead police to catch criminals, and learn how specialists match trace evidence -- such as a single hair found on a victim -- to catch a murderer.
Yoder, Eric and Natalie
65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science
Presents sixty-five mysteries to solve using one's knowlege of earth, space, life, physical, chemical, and general science.
Young, Karen Romano
Crime Scene Science
20 projects and experiments about clues, crimes, criminals, and other mysterious things


Record Your Fingerprints

Materials: Ink Pad, pencil with soft lead, fingerprint record sheet, pen, tape, magnifier

Place students into pairs. Have one student take the fingerprints of the other and then switch roles. Remind students to take each fingerprint carefully so that it does not smudge. Have students examine their own fingerprints and classify them under the four basic patterns (arch, loop, whorl, combination).

  • Give each student a handout with the four basic fingerprint patterns
  • Have students examine their fingerprints with a magnifying glass
  • Chart your Results

Create a Crime Science

Materials: Everyday objects, post-it notes, soft lead pencil, tape, Group chart of fingerprints

The crime scene may be made ahead of time using books, a bottle, cup or mug, anything that a post it note could stick to.

Have each student rub their index finger with a soft lead pencil. Use a piece of tape to capture the fingerprint and place it on a post it note. (the students should put their initials on the back of the post it note)The teacher should collect all of the post it notes and select one to place in the fake crime scene.

Using the group chart of fingerprints, see if the suspect can be found.


Write a Mystery

Read an example from either 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science by Eric and Natalie Yoder or Case Closed by Jurg Obrist. Talk about other mystery solvers like Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes. Have students write their own short mystery about a crime and how it was solved.



Evidence: A thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place.

Forensics: The use of science and technology to investigate and establish facts in criminal or civil courts of law.

Investigators: One, especially a detective, who investigates

Residue: The remainder of something after removal of parts or a part.

Suspect: One who is suspected, especially of having committed a crime


Additional Resources: