Science and Stories: Fingerprints

By Awnali Mills

This week was another Science & Stories adventure!  Our theme was Hide and Seek to go with our science stations on fingerprints.  The books I chose were Daisy Plays Hide-and-Seek by Ellie Sandall and Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na.

I started off with my hedgehog stuffed animal who curls into a little ball and looks just like a big puffball until you uncurl him, and talked about how some animals like to hide.  Then, he brought us the letter H.  We talked about the sound it makes and words that start with H.  Then I did the fingerplay Open Shut Them.

I read Daisy Plays Hide-and-Seek, and some of the kids assured me that they saw Daisy every time.  That’s pretty good.  She can be hard to see, but I pointed her out several times during the book.

Then we did Where is Thumbkin a few times (he was good at hiding behind our backs), and rolled my song cube to sing Hickory Dickory Dock and This Is the Way We Take a Bath.  Then, I flipped my flannel board around to display my already prepped flannel Little Mouse, Little Mouse.  That little dickens was hiding in a red house, but it took the kids a while to find him.

I read Hide & Seek next, and at the end, pointed out that the chameleon was hiding on almost every page (although we didn’t go back and look for him, because that’s hard with a big group, and I had a BIG group.)

Finally, we did Here Is the Beehive, and after the bees flew all around, I asked the kids to look closely at their fingers and see if they could find their fingerprints.  We talked about how fingerprints are unique to each person and how scientists use fingerprints to figure out where people have been, and identify who was there.  I explained the stations and set families free to explore.

Station 1: Matching Fingerprints

I had taken a chart of 7 basic fingerprint types and made 10 copies of it.  I cut each fingerprint square and mounted it on a square of black construction paper.  Then I put two copies of each fingerprint into a set for a total of 5 sets.  The station was about examining the fingerprints and finding the pairs.  I provided magnifying glasses (although they weren’t really needed), and for extra credit, the whole chart with the names of the fingerprint types that children could compare their matching pairs to.

Station 2: Dusting for Fingerprints

I set out trays that each had a square of aluminum foil, a small container of cornstarch, a square of black construction paper, a soft small paintbrush, and Scotch tape.  I provided a bottle of lotion for the whole station, and instructions that I simplified from here.

Station 3: Fingerprint Animals

For a little fun, I copied and posted some instructional pages from Ed Emberley’s fingerprint drawing books (because I didn’t want kids handling them with inky fingers, and I wanted everyone to be able to see at the same time) and put the books on display on the table.  I set out trays, scrap paper, washable ink pads in assorted colors, colored pencils, and baby wipes.

Station 4: Fingerprint File

Because authorities recommend that parents keep their child’s fingerprints on file, I downloaded and printed the fingerprint file in both English and Spanish from the child safety kits from the Polly Klaas Foundation.  This one was for parents to keep on file.  I also printed one from Buggy and Buddy for children to keep for themselves.  I set out washable black ink pads, pencils, and baby wipes.

Both kids and parents were very engaged with this program.  It didn’t lead to a whole lot of play, but kids seemed fascinated by what they were doing.  One mom came up afterwards and told me that the whole program was right up her alley because she had a degree in forensic science.  She was delighted, and the kids were all excited to show me what they had done.

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One Response to Science and Stories: Fingerprints

  1. Morrisa says:

    Great job, Mrs. Mills. Not only did you captivate these young minds (and older ones too) with compelling science, but provided a community service for the protection of the children through copies of their fingerprints. Impressive!

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