Motivate your students to learn about forensic science by allowing them to participate in a few crime scene activities in the classroom. From a fingerprinting activity to acting out their own crime scene, the students will learn with hands-on activities. A few supplies from your local retail store and enthusiastic students are all you need to get started.
Let the students practice finding fingerprints using cocoa powder, a soft fiberglass paintbrush, transparent tape and white paper. Show the students how to lift a fingerprint by pressing one of your fingers on a desk. Sticky and oily fingers work best when making fingerprints. Dust the cocoa powder over the fingerprint and use the fiberglass paintbrush to remove any excess powder. Take the tape and press it over the fingerprint. The tape will lift the fingerprint so you can put it on the white paper. Allow the children a chance to walk around the classroom and collect fingerprints. Older students can try to match the fingerprints with someone in the class by fingerprinting each student.
Select two students to stand outside the classroom and have another student take a bite out of a thick piece of chocolate. The two students outside will come back in the classroom and work together to try to figure out who took the bite by comparing each student’s teeth to the impression on the chocolate. If you want to play this activity as a game, set a time limit and each pair that solves the “crime” within the time limit will win a small prize. Give small prizes like magnifying glasses, "do not cross crime scene'' tape, a plastic FBI badge and crime scene candy.
Crime Scene Groups
Divide the students into groups of five or six and let them create their own crime scene. The students can use their imagination to act out a crime scene and show how they would try to solve the crime. For example, one group can have a student riding a bike and parking it at the store. Another student can get on the bike and steal it. The students will act out how they solved the crime. They can use a fingerprinting kit to get fingerprints off the bike if they recover it or ask any nearby witnesses if they have seen anything. Award prizes to the best, scariest and silliest crime scenes.