Classifying Fingerprints

(Modified from Washington MESA Classifying Fingerprints Curriculum)

Analyzing Fingerprints

Activity Objectives:

Each student will experiment with fingerprint-making methods and be able to describe the main types of fingerprint patterns, explain the specific characteristics that make up fingerprint patterns, and apply fingerprint analysis skills.

Activity Directions for Making Your Fingerprint

  • Use a soft pencil to color a patch on a piece of paper large enough to cover the surface of your finger.
  • Rub your finger in the graphite on the paper, also rocking it side to side.
  • Take a short piece of tape and wrap it around the part of your finger that is covered with graphite.
  • Carefully remove the tape from your finger and tape it onto the 3 x 5 card.
  • Make a second fingerprint of the same finger and tape it onto another 3 x 5 card.
  • Write your name on the back of one of the 3x5 cards.
  • Make one more fingerprint of any finger you choose and tape it into the box on the Analyzing Your Fingerprint worksheet.

Fingerprint Patterns

Whorl

Graphic of a fingerprint showing a whorl.

Loop

Graphic of a fingerprint showing a loop.

Arch

Graphic of a fingerprint showing an arch.
 

Galton Characteristics

Fork

Galton Characteristic, Fork.

Dot

Galton Characteristic, Dot.

Ending Edge

Galton Characteristic, Ending Edge.
 

Enclosure

Galton Characteristic, Enclosure.

Short Ridge

Galton Characteristic, Short Ridge.

Analyzing Your Fingerprint

Tape Your Fingerprint Here

Use the Fingerprint Patterns chart to identify the pattern of your fingerprint.

The pattern on my fingerprint is: ______

Use the Galton Characteristics chart to identify specific characteristics of your fingerprint. Use the corresponding letter and a line to indicate the characteristics you can identify.

A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

Detective Work

  1. Put the 3 x 5 cards with the names in one of the envelopes provided. Put the other 3 x 5 cards in the second envelope.
  2. Pass around one envelope and have each person take one 3 x 5 card.
  3. Each person should identify the fingerprint pattern on the card they picked.
  4. Lay the cards out on the table in groups according the fingerprint pattern type.
  5. Pass around the second envelope and have each person take one 3 x 5 card.
  6. Each person should identify the fingerprint pattern on the card they picked.
  7. Each person then looks at the group of cards on the table to find the matching card.
  8. Signal the teacher when your group has matched all the cards.