Accessible Science Blog

By Charlotte Cushman
Learners with significant multiple disabilities are not always included in science activities, as teachers are not always sure how to make these lessons meaningful or accessible.  Some teachers may believe that it is difficult for students with severe special needs to be active participants in a science curriculum, but using an Active Learning approach can change all of that!   What is Active Learning? To learn more about Active Learning, visit Active Learning Space, which is a collaboration between Perkins School for the Blind... read more
By Laura Hospitál
At the recent POSB Conference, I was made aware of the APH "Quick Tip" 3-minute instructional videos and inquired of Rosanne Hoffman in regard to videos available for APH Science Products.  Many thanks to Rosanne for information on the videos (and for producing them). The following videos are short instructional videos which describe several APH Biology products related to DNA, Transcription and Translation. These are the processes by which the information from DNA is used to make RNA and finally protein within the cell.  I hope to... read more
By Laura Hospitál
As with last month's blog post on preparing for a student entering chemistry, I hope to provide the TVI with practical steps to follow and items to purchase in order to provide the Biology student with a visual impairment with all the tools necessary to best understand and enjoy Biology. Items to purchase from APH These items ideally should be purchased from American Printing House for the Blind (APH) the spring prior to the student entering Biology class in the fall. All of these items are available using Quota Funds. Please see the... read more
By Laura Hospitál
As with blog posts from the past several months relating to adapting instruction in chemistry and biology, this post is designed to give practical ideas for the TVI with a student in a middle school science class focusing on physical science and earth/space science.  This course is offered in 8th grade in most of Texas, but may differ as to the grade level in other states.  Products to Purchase I recommend buying these items in the spring if possible, in preparation for a class the following fall. From APH (Available with Quota... read more
By Laura Hospitál
The POSB Math and Science Institute is a biennial event designed to encourage collaboration among Teachers of the Visually Impaired focusing on math and science instruction.  The Conference also provides professional development opportunities for participants related to accessible science tools and methods.  The 2017 POSB Math and Science Institute was held at TSBVI in early April and was enjoyed by all! We hope you'll plan to join us next time! SAVE THE DATE for the 2019 POSB Conference! 5th Biennial POSB Math and Science... read more
By Laura Hospitál
This blog serves as a "prequel" to the fall blog on tools for drawing in science class.  I will discuss the value of drawing for students with VI. This was my original intent for the earlier blog but I focused on the tools themselves instead.  The goal of this blog is to convince the reader that it is worth the time and effort necessary to introduce a student with visual impairment to one or more tools for drawing described in the earlier blog "Visual Arts for the Visually Impaired: Drawing for the Blind - Tools and Techniques."... read more
By Laura Hospitál
The PenFriend can be used as an auditory tool for science instruction with students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple impairments. I have just become acquainted with this excellent tool and have begun using it in class. It is a simple device which allows the student or teacher to record audio to rerecordable stickers of various shapes.  This audio is then easily accessible using the PenFriend which must simply be turned on and held over the sticker in order to "read" it.   USEFUL ADAPTATION FOR... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Accurately reading and interpreting tables is instrumental to understanding science content in middle school and  high school.  However,  many students with visual impairment lag behind their sighted peers in this important skill. Why is this so and how can TVIs ensure that their students are able to stay on track? Many thanks to both Mrs. Sue Mattson, Braille Transcriber, TSBVI, and Dr. Kay Pruett, Braille teacher, TSBVI, for their valuable input.  Start Early and Start Simple As braille students are taught to read... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Many thanks to Rich Lampert, Technology teacher at TSBVI, for his invaluable input to this blog.  In order for students with visual impairment to have access to science textbooks in an accessible format, it is vital that Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) understand how to access the services of the two main text access organizations for students with print disabiities:  Bookshare and Learning Ally.   TVIs  should also be aware of the differences between Bookshare and Learning Ally in order to provide the most... read more
By Laura Hospitál
I remember a conversation with my mother years ago when I first began teaching.  As a school psychologist for many years, she had observed many classroom environments.  As we spoke about effective (and ineffective) teaching practices, she remarked that the teachers who regularly had an intro type activity (warm-up) usually engaged the class more quickly in the lesson, had fewer discipline issues,  and were able to maintain the attention of the class more effectively.  Now, as a more seasoned teacher (and in agreement with... read more

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