Class: Life Science, 10th Grade
Unit: Genes and DNA
Topic: DNA Fingerprinting

Instructional Objectives: Students should be able to:
  • Understand that DNA uniquely identifies an individual.
  • Explain how a DNA fingerprint can be used to solve a mystery or resolve a question regarding paternity.


  • Stage a scene in the hallway followed by a fake murder. Cover the victim with fake blood and leave blood on multiple pontential suspects. Spread props around the hallways that were presumably thrown around during a struggle. (Day 1)
* Have the students collect evidence and diagram the scene of the crime. Have the students collect swabs from the inside of the cheeks of the suspects as well as from the fake blood. (Day 1)
  • Give a presentation on DNA fingerprinting, describing how it can be used to solve a crime. (Day 2)
  • Have the students do a DNA fingerprinting simulation lab to determine which suspect commited the crime. (Day 2)

  1. Write a report explaining the results of the DNA fingerprinting lab, and your inferences as to who commited the crime.
  2. Describe the murder on the basis of the physical and DNA evidence, explaining how the murder likely took place. In addition, describe the competing hypotheses and why they are not supported by the evidence.
  3. Describe another application of DNA fingerprinting.
# Textbook, pp. 346, "Gel Electrophoresis"
  1. Textbook, pp. 352-353, "DNA Fingerprinting"

Activity Materials Needed
Colored pencils, fake blood, possible murder weapons, and a variety of props to leave at the scene of the crime.

Resources for Lesson
  1. DNA fingerprinting slides
  2. Gel electrophoresis worksheet
  3. DNA sequences, including crime scene and suspect DNA

Genes and DNA Unit Lesson Sequence