One of a Kind: Fingerprints and Patterns

It comes as no surprise that forensic science still remains a prominent subject throughout our educational systems today. So you might be asking, what continues to fuel this forensic flame?

The fascination for forensics is certainly heightened through the hundreds and thousands of investigation shows and documentaries that have been popularized on television.

However, the real fascination behind the mystery is the rewarding feeling of solving crimes and unveiling the truth. That is exactly why Community Learning brought the Cookie Jar Mystery to life and straight to your classroom!

This hands-on investigation is filled with 12 action-packed activities that happily invite students to solve problems creatively and think critically, while also learning how to work cooperatively in teams. Each activity is unique, ultimately designed to ignite curiosity within each student, while further stimulating authentic learning.

These activities range from lab analysis to fieldwork to criminal investigations, as students will be able to dive deep into using evidence, models, tools, and scientific techniques effectively.

Take the “One of a Kind: Fingerprint Evidence” lesson for example. Students will work in teams to carefully identify the three main patterns found in fingerprints; loop, whorl, or arch. They will do this by using the specialized ink strips that are provided in all of the Cookie Jar Mystery Kits.

Closely examining these patterns will help the students learn a variety of fingerprinting techniques and terminology while simultaneously building their critical thinking skills along the way.

Students will also be asked to document their findings in their Ten Card activity sheet as they eventually answer questions like, “Do any of the suspects’ fingerprints match with the crime scene print?” These questions will help students connect their fingerprint discoveries to the crime scene, as they’re now one step closer to solving the mystery.

To get a visual understanding of this fascinating lesson, you can watch this “One of a Kind: Fingerprint Evidence” video that is available on Community Learning’s YouTube Channel. This video gives an overview of the whole lesson, along with a short tutorial that will help students get the most out of this activity.

If you want to explore even further, you can also head to TKSST (This Kid Should See This) to watch the video, Why are your fingerprints unique?

The video is designed to highlight the importance of fingerprinting and to understand that no two people in the world have the same fingerprints. This means that each print is unique, making fingerprints an essential piece of evidence during each and every crime scene investigation.

So, examining fingerprints could be the missing puzzle piece needed in order to solve the mystery!

If you’d like to bring this Cookie Jar Mystery to life, you can read through the full course outline here.

However, if you’re looking for a single lesson plan, you can also visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store to download and preview the individual “One of a Kind: Fingerprint Evidence” lesson.

If you found these links helpful, keep a lookout for more discussions and resources to come in the near future!

We’d love to hear your feedback or any questions that you might have. You can email us at any time by sending a message to

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