Fingerprints? Do Parents and Children Share Similar Components and Patterns?

based on 46 ratings
Author: Muriel Gerhard



Middle School

Difficulty of Project



$2 -$3

Safety Issues


Material Availability

Finger print kit can be purchased from I.D. Technologies Inc.

Materials and Equipment Required

A finger print kit which consists of an ink pad and roller, a jeweler`s loop, a bottle of ink remover and rolls of fingerprint squares. Paper towels and liquid soap for cleanup.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

2 to 3 weeks.  This includes the collection, recording and analysis of data, summary of results and completion of bibliography.


To test the hypothesis that parents and children do share similar components and patterns in their fingerprints.


Background Information

On the information level, this experiment serves to provide students with the opportunity to engage in an experiment that combines knowledge from both biology and chemistry and yields practical applications to our daily lives. In the light of the fact that fingerprinting has become a practice in schools as well as in other institutions, it serves to generate student`s interest.  Students are intrigued by the process and the content.

On the level of the process of experimentation and substantive inquiry, this project serves to acquaint students with the essential processes of sciencing such as the importance of the use of a control, of identifying dependent and independent variables, of data collection, of pictorial and graphic presentation of data and of being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings.  They take on the role of scientists and in the process they learn to act as one.

Research Terms

  • Types of fingerprints
  • Loops
  • Ridges
  • Whorl Pattern
  • Arch Pattern
  • Abstract Prints

Research Questions

  • What is fingerprinting?
  • What do fingerprints tell us about people?
  • How is fingerprinting used?
  • How are fingerprints produced?
  • How do fingerprints differ?
  • Do the same fingerprints run in families?
  • Do fingerprints change as we grow older?

Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

  • What is a control?  A control is the variable that is not changed in the experiment.
  • What purpose does a control serve? It is used to make comparisons as to what changed or possibly caused the change.
  • What are variables?  Variables are factors that can be changed in an experiment.
  • What is an independent variable? The independent variable is the one that is changed in the experiment.
  • What is a dependent variable? The dependent variable is the one that changes as a result of the change in the independent variable.

Charting and Graphing Data

In each section of the experiment, use charts to display the obtained data such the following sample:


Subjects: Families

Description of Similarities

Number of Similarities

















Add your own comment