About the Course

Catching the Criminal

  • Grades 5-6
  • CTY-Level
  • LIVE

Print evidence can place suspects at a crime scene, identify missing persons, and exonerate the innocent. Begin with an overview of the history of print evidence, focusing on fingerprints, footprints, and tire tracks. Upon learning the difference between class and individual evidence, determine whether a print links a suspect to a crime scene or just helps investigators narrow down their search.

Study patent, latent, and plastic fingerprints, and learn how forensic scientists identify and use them. Dive in to each type of print evidence as you classify fingerprints, dust and lift prints, scrutinize print details used in court, cast shoe prints, examine shoe and tire marks in your neighborhood, read real case studies involving print evidence, and apply this knowledge in online mock cases.

Fall, Winter, and Spring Time Commitment: 4-5 hours per week (1 hour class time, 3-4 hours independent work).
Summer Time Commitment: 12-15 hours per week (3 hours class time, 9-12 hours independent work).

Important Dates
Apply by August 30 to start:

Apply by August 30 to start:


Register for an Online course by selecting an open class below. If no open classes are listed, then course enrollment is currently closed. Note: You will need to have an active CTY Account to complete registration through MyCTY.

9 weeks
5:00 p.m. (ET)
9 weeks
7:00 p.m. (ET)
9 weeks
9:00 a.m. (ET)
9 weeks
8:00 p.m. (ET)

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level CTY-Level Not required
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.

Sign up for Testing Learn More

Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • Nonrefundable Application Fee - $15 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
    • Nonrefundable International Fee - $20 (outside US only)

Financial Aid is available

We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.

Learn More

Course Materials

Please acquire all course materials by the course start date. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact ctyinfo@jhu.edu.

  • Fingerprint Ink Pad (or any black ink pad)
  • LIGHTNING POWDER Zephyr Fiberglass Fingerprint Brush
  • LIGHTNING POWDER Black Latent Fingerprint Powder (2 oz)
  • Ziplock Bag (sandwich-sized and gallon-sized)
  • 1 Sharpie/Permanent Marker
  • 1 Toy Car (ideally with wheels that have a tread pattern)
  • 1 Aluminum Tray (9 in x 13 in)
  • 1 travel-sized can of hair spray (aerosol or non-aerosol)
  • Soil or Sand to fill the aluminum tray or access to outdoor patch of dirt/sand
  • 4-4.4 lb Plaster of Paris
  • 1 white balloon
  • Ruler
  • (Optional) Baby Wipes

Technical Requirements

This course requires a computer with high-speed Internet access and an up-to-date web browser such as Chrome or Firefox. You must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

This course uses a virtual classroom for instructor-student communication. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client, and on tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Recorded meetings can only be viewed on a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both free to download.

About Science and Engineering at CTY

Our Science and Engineering courses bring a variety of science topics to life. By introducing topics not covered in standard science curricula, we build and reinforce your science knowledge. All courses support critical thinking, problem solving, and reasoning, and encourage a real-life, hands-on approach to learning about Earth, space, life sciences, chemistry, and the physical world. Guided by expert CTY science educators, you’ll master science lab kits, perform hands-on experiments using common household objects, participate in dynamic group discussions, or prepare for AP exams.

Newly revised Honors Physics course

Our completely redesigned Honors Physics course features new lessons, conceptual and problem-solving videos, and guiding questions that teach students how to solve each type of problem. Hands-on exploration activities challenge students to solve everyday physics problems from how giant cruise ships stay afloat to how to ship fragile packages without them breaking. Putting their physics knowledge to the test, students compete in our catapult design competition for Furthest Launch and Creative Design awards.

More engaging science enrichment courses!

In the newly revised Inventions in Engineering course, students bring fantasy into reality by creating inventions to solve the problems of favorite fictional characters and the real world alike. A new unit in Introduction to Forensics asks students to evaluate the validity of various kinds of forensic evidence and its impact on the lives of individuals, and to provide recommendations on which types of forensic evidence should be admissible in the criminal justice system. In Household Chemistry, students engage in newly revised activities that help develop their skills in making and recording detailed observations using all 5 senses as they explore states of matter and the role chemistry plays in their daily lives.

Meet our Science and Engineering Instructors