Friday, September 11, 2015

Collecting (and Studying) Fingerprints

Fingerprints are one of detective's best clues. They often help solve the crime and catch the criminal. I thought my boys would have fun learning more about them.

Here's how my sons (ages 6 and 10) took their own fingerprints and examined them for three key characteristics.

sharp pencil
transparent tape
magnifying glass

1. Hold the pencil at an angle so all of the graphite makes contact with the paper. Scribble back and forth until you have a large block of solid pencil lead on the paper.

2. On another piece of paper, lay your hand flat with fingers splayed, and trace around it.

3. Now starting with the pinky on that hand, rub the end of the finger on your scribbled pencil paper until it's covered.

4. Cover it with a small piece of transparent tape and pull it away from the skin.

5. Place the tape on the tip of that same finger on your hand drawing. Repeat with all the other fingers.

6. Look at the prints under a magnifying glass. Do you have an arch (what looks like a mountain shape), a loop (where the skin ridges head in one direction and then double back upon themselves), or a whorl (which looks a lot like the ridges of your skin swirling out from the center)?

We used some great non-fiction to better understand ridge skin patterns and how detectives use fingerprints to solve crimes.

Our youngest son enjoyed some other detective fiction books as well.

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