Fingerprints and the Police

We are learning to (WALT) find facts in a story using keywords

I know I am successful when:  

  • I can identify keywords

  • I can recognise a fact

  • I can explain what the fact means

Purpose of the lessons

Reading group Tahi are finding keywords to help locate information. They are doing this around a non-fiction text about fingerprints.

Before reading they talked about what they might already know about fingerprints (activating prior knowledge).  The students talked about the lines on their fingers, and what sort of people use fingerprints in their job (the Police). This generated quite a discussion about what sort of crimes the Police might go to get fingerprints. There was talk of dead bodies, blood and if people were sick!  The question was asked does everyone have their own fingerprints? The group felt that twins would have the same fingerprints.

They then scanned the article to see if they could find any words that they might not recognise or know the meaning of. They came up with evidence, impressions, fingerprints, powder, surface, scene, database, whorls and magnifies. We discussed the words and what they meant and they then went off independently to read the article. Once they read the article they answered some questions around the text to show their understanding. The discovered that twins do in fact have different fingerprints and that our fingerprints are unique and no one else in the world shares their fingerprints.  

Due to the great conversation generated by reading this article, Whaea Sherryl invited Constable Kellie from the NZ Police in Taupo to come and talk to the whole class around her job as a fingerprint officer.  


A fingerprint officer attends serious crime sciences; searches for, enhance, collect and examine finger, palm and footprint evidence; make identifications by comparing recovered latent prints and known offender prints; and presents expert evidence at court. Kellie spent an hour in Room 1 and the students were totally engaged with what she had to say and the demonstration that she did around collecting fingerprints.  

She had Iree put his hand on the glass door and then fingerprinted the door.  





She passed around the fingerprints she lifted off the window and also the swab kit that is used to collect blood.





She got Cyanalee to put on one of the suits she wears when she attends a crime scene and explained why she has to wear one. The students were able to feel the material of the suit.  



She answered so many questions about all the things she has found at a crime scene and what the most gruesome thing was that she found (swabbing a dead body). At the end she fingerprinted each student and they now have their own little booklet with their unique fingerprint.  


She kindly left behind some brushes and powder for us to practice taking our own fingerprints. We thank Constable Kellie for coming and sharing her time and expertise with us, she could easily have stayed another hour answering more of our questions!

Addison: I liked that we got to touch exhibits that she brought from when she had done fingerprints at a crime scene.  I really liked the big footprint. I also liked the stories that she told, especially the time she had to climb into a big rubbish dumpster to get a bag that had been thrown in there with money in it.

Iree: I like that she asked me to put my hand onto the glass door and then took my fingerprints.  She used a white powder and some special brushes. She was able to get a good set of my fingerprints.  I also liked the things she brought from crime scenes for us to look at.  

Cyanalee: I really liked putting on the suit they wear when they go into a house.  They wear it so they don’t get contaminated and also that their DNA doesn’t end up at the crime scene.  If that happened, then the people taking the fingerprints have to get everyone’s fingerprints even if they are not criminals.  The suit was huge and it was really hot, I feel sorry for the police who have to wear this in the summer.


Keywords: reading, comprehension, non fiction, science, student engagement

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