Fingerprint Identification

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In this crime science activity (on page 2 of the PDF), learners will explore the uniqueness of fingerprints. The will learn components of fingerprints as well as why fingerprints are left behind. This activity is included as part of one of COSI's Family Science Quests, but can easily be done as a stand-alone. This activity also points out that what we see on TV isn't always accurate, as the learners will find out just how hard it is to leave a good, clean fingerprint.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Two pieces of paper and a pencil
  • Washable markers
  • Ruler
  • Magnifying glass
  • Baby wipes or paper towel for cleanup


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Muscles and Skin
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Gathering Data
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Crime Science


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Family Programs & Camps


  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009