Who says science and art can’t go hand-in-hand? It’s easy to lift and study fingerprints using scotch tape, and colorful fingerprint designs make great Valentine’s cards, so what are you waiting for? All you need for the science part is paper, scotch tape and a pencil. For the valentines, you will need an ink pad, paper and markers.
On www.wikieducator.org/Fabulous_Forensic_Fingerprints, I found a fingerprint-lifting technique that works well, even for very young children. Simply take a pencil and scribble on a piece of paper until a small area is covered with the graphite from the pencil lead. Rub your finger around in the graphite until it is covered with gray. Place your finger on the sticky side of a piece of scotch tape and then carefully lift your finger up. A clear fingerprint should be visible. Place the tape face-down on another piece of paper to preserve the fingerprint.
You can then inspect the fingerprint under a magnifying glass, or with your naked eye. If you go to the wiki website I mentioned, you can decipher whether your fingerprint is a whorl, a loop, or an arch. It’s fun to trace your hand, fingerprint each finger and thumb, and tape your fingerprints to the appropriate fingers on the outline of your hand. Fingerprints would be a great addition to your science notebook! Kids have a lot of fun with this project and can do it unassisted once you show them what to do.
Older kids can try lifting a fingerprint from a hard surface! Put an oily fingerprint on a drinking glass, dust it with cocoa powder (you can use a feather), blow on it to remove extra powder, and lift the print using scotch tape. Tape it on some white paper to see it.
To make Valentines, put two fingerprints or thumbprints together in the shape of a heart. It’s also fun to make fish, bugs, and anything else you can think up! I gave my kids some ideas to get them started and they went from there! (You can add details with markers.) Have fun!