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Fantastic Fingerprints

What You Need:

• Inkpad
• Paper
• Pen or pencil
• A fingerprinting friend
• Soap and water
• Magnifying glass (optional)

Question: How are fingerprints used to identify someone ?

1) First, press your fingers one at a time onto the inkpad.

2) Then, make a print of your fingers on the paper. When you make a print, roll your finger only once. Don’t roll your finger back and forth, otherwise the print will smudge.

3) Look for patterns such as whorls, loops, and arches.

4) Identify and label each fingerprint pattern.

5) Compare your fingerprints with your friend’s. How are they alike? How are they different?

A Scientific Explanation:

No two people in the world have the same fingerprints. Not even identical twins! This is why fingerprints are used to identify people. Fingerprints are divided into three patterns: Loops, whorls (spirals), arches (waves or bumps). You can identify someone by matching the patterns on their finger with any prints they have left behind.


Collect the fingerprints of several more friends. Identify all the features that you can. How are the fingerprints alike? How are they different?