Making Physical Science Accessible

Making Physical Sciences Accessible to Students with Visual ImpairmentsPhysical Sciences are concerned with the study of inanimate matter or energy, including physics, chemistry, and related subjects. This is one of the four Disciplinary Core Ideas from the Next Generation Science Standards. The standards in this section include:
  • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Forces and Motions
  • Definitions of Energy
  • Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life
  • Electromagnetic Radiation

For more information, see also Disciplinary Core Ideas -- Physical Sciences in A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas ( 2012 ).

 

 

By Laura Hospitál
Tectonic plates are giant slabs of Earth's lithosphere (the outer layer of the Earth ) that move in relation to each other. This movement can occur... read more
By Selma Walsh
A hands-on activity to introduce students who are blind and visually impaired to friction.  
By Accessible Science
In this video, Dr. Cary Supalo explains the Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest and demonstrates some experiments that can be done with it.          
By Laura Hospitál
Many thanks to my daughter, Hannah Hospitál, for this excellent idea.   As a science teacher at a school for the blind, I have often been asked... read more
By Selma Walsh
History: People have been weighing objects forever, but it was the Greek people who first tried to figure out what weight is and how to explain... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students measure the distance a marble rolls and the time it takes to roll. They then calculate the speed using the equation: Speed = Distance / Time...
By Selma Walsh
This hands-on science activity teaches students who are blind and visually impaired about the balance of objects.
By Laura Hospitál
This simple activity materialized when I considered the temperature change obvious to a student as he completed a simple chemical reaction in his  ... read more
By Laura Hospitál
This activity uses the excellent AZER atom model to depict ionic bonding of sodium and chloride forming table salt. It should be part of... read more
By Laura Hospitál
In this activity, students with visual impairment will compare volume and mass and gain a better understanding of these concepts. Vocabulary:... read more
By Selma Walsh
This hands-on activity teaches students who are blind and visually impaired about problem solving and the engineering design process.
By Selma Walsh
This hands-on science lesson is designed to teach learners with visual impairments about gravity through the use of toy cars.
By Selma Walsh
This hands-on, participatory science activity teaches students who are blind and visually impaired about the effect of position and motion using toy... read more
By Selma Walsh
A hands-on science lesson for students who are blind and visually impaired to demonstrate friction.
By Selma Walsh
A hands-on science lesson for students who are blind and visually impaired about force, using push and pull to demonstrate.
By Laura Hospitál
For itinerant TVIs who are adapting chemistry for a braille student, these guidelines will be invaluable.   The 20-page document includes: Basic... read more
By Laura Hospitál
From the Exceptional Teaching Website: The Tactile Atlas of Electricity includes print and contracted braille.  Diagrams are shown using raised lines... read more
By Laura Hospitál
While teaching the electromagnetic spectrum, it occurred to me that Wikki Stix would make a quick and easy model to supplement the raised line from... read more
By Selma Walsh
These hands-on science activities are designed to teach students with visual impairments about light sources and the properties of light.
By Laura Hospitál
Students will observe heat transfer by conduction, convection, and radiation as they pop popcorn.  This activity can be used as an intro to these... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students use the APH Periodic Table and AZER Reference Booklet to build an atom of an element given only the element symbol or atomic number.  Both... read more
By Laura Hospitál
We just covered the phases of the Moon, with tides as our next topic of study. It occurred to me that the http://www.perkinselearning.org/accessible-... read more
By Laura Hospitál
I found that my students were struggling to understand why the tides are later (50 min) each day. As I contemplated how to make this content more... read more
By Laura Hospitál
In this inquiry-based learning activity, students who are blind or visually impaired work in groups to put the steps of the scientific method in... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students will measure distance traveled and time traveled to determine velocity in a similar manner to speed determination in the recent activity:  ... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students learn about the transfer of energy through conduction, convection, and radiation.  This interactive activity reviews these concepts while... read more
By Laura Hospitál
This activity was adapted from the 8th Grade Science Fusion book (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) by Paul Carlson, a student teacher, at TSBVI.  ... read more
By Laura Hospitál
This simple yet elegant activity is adapted  from the FOSS Magnetism and Electricity kit and book.  Please see review at http://www.perkinselearning.... read more
By Laura Hospitál
The Periodic Table is arranged in a manner that places elements with similar chemical properties in columns (groups).    This similarity of... read more
By Laura Hospitál
In this activity, students differentiate between a gas, a solid, and a liquid. The activity serves as a quick assessment of which students have... read more
By Laura Hospitál
This activity should be completed after introducing the definition and formula for speed (possibly the next day). In this activity, students will... read more
By Charlotte Cushman
This list is shared with permission of Sara Larkin.  This is an updated version of the original online at  http://www.iowa-braille.k12.ia.us/vnews/... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students in middle school and high school learn that the rate of a chemical reaction can be affected by concentration, surface area, temperature,... read more
By Charlotte Cushman
The Elementor Periodic Table App was created by 7th grader Hari Bhimaraju to explain the various facets of the elements of the Periodic Table. It is... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Many thanks to Sasha Hospitál for developing the idea for this activity. This activity came out of a conversation with my daughter, Sasha.  I... read more
By Kate Fraser
This activity accompanies reading and discussions in an introductory chemistry or physical science course.  Changes of state are physical changes.... read more
By aroth
In the world of physics, some properties don’t always behave like we think they should. A liquid should flow and fill a container; a solid should... read more
By Laura Hospitál
This activity is designed as a review of concepts related to basic atomic structure.  Students will need a review of these concept,s as well as a... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Volume is simply defined as the amount of space that something take up. In this lab, students use adapted beakers to measure volume accurately to... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students use the APH atom model to both become familiar with the concept of atomic number and mass number and to display (model) their... read more
By Laura Hospitál
While considering what I might use to better explain the concept of the atom as the smallest unit of matter, I asked my daughter, Sasha, what she... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students with visual impairment and blindness often struggle with the format of the Periodic Table.  This activity introduces the more complicated... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Students research a scientist or mathematician of their choice who is blind or visually impaired and write an essay on the chosen individual.    
By Laura Hospitál
The Latin word scientia, from which the the work "science" hails,  means "to know".  The heart of a scientist is an unquenching desire to know more... read more
By Kate Fraser
Filling a black plastic trash bag with air or using a “Solar Tube” (an extra-long black plastic tube available from many science supply companies),... read more
By Patrick Ryan
This experiment uses a mixture of cornstarch and water to discover what effect sound frequency has on the shape of the mixture.  Students begin by... read more
By Patrick Ryan
These four scientific experiments have been adapted for students who are blind or visually impaired.  These activities were done with an afterschool... read more
By Patrick Ryan
These two activities are designed to teach students who are blind or visually impaired about motion and forces.  The first activity focuses on... read more
By Stu Grove
For this year’s Science Fair, Introductory Physics student Zachary B. chose to explore whether a speaker, such as the kind you might find in a... read more
By Laura Hospitál
Light can be a difficult concept for students who have never had vision to understand.  This device allows the student to "hear" the amount of... read more

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