Introduce the world of forensic science; gather chemical and fingerprint evidence to solve a crime

This session should take six hours and 45 minutes. 

A group of fun and entertaining practicals are included in this session where students are tasked with becoming investigators, and using their chemistry knowledge to solve crimes. Flame tests, fingerprinting, and more are explored here, so teachers can bring fun to learning. 

Session timings

  • 09.00 Welcome and introduction to forensic science, scenes of crime and fingerprints. Teams view evidence and plan action
  • 09.55 Refreshments
  • 10.15 Laboratory session 1 Fingerprint analysis and dissolving/filtering salt cellar sample to dry in oven over lunch
  • 12.00 Lunch
  • 13.00 Laboratory session 2 Flame tests, anion tests and IR analysis
  • 14.30 Preparation of presentations
  • 15.00 Refreshments
  • 15.15 Presentations
  • 15.45 Summary


  • Safety goggles
  • Lab coat
  • Fingerprint kit
  • Small pure squirrel brush small inking pad 5 x 3”
  • White porcelain salt cellar
  • Porcelain evaporating basins (to practice on)
  • Cotton liners (womens)
  • Cotton liners (mens)
  • Graphic powder
  • Sample X barium sulfate
  • Sample Y calcium carbonate
  • Sample Z calcium chloride
  • Salt cellar contents sodium chloride/barium sulfate
  • Fingerprint sheets for three suspects and victim
  • IR sheets for samples X, Y, Z
  • Flame test wires
  • Small beaker and dilute HCl to wash wires
  • Bunsen burner and mat
  • Spatula
  • Anion test solutions
  • Five test-tubes/rack/ delivery tube and bung
  • Disposable pipettes
  • Paper and pens
  • OHPs for presenting results


  • Dilute nitric acid
  • Fresh limewater
  • Silver nitrate
  • Barium chloride solutions

Health, safety and technical notes

  • Read our standard health and safety guidance here.
  • Wear eye protection and lab coat. 
  • Learners using a Bunsen flame should be carefully observed.