Accessible Science Resources

Find out what's new and learn more about resources related to accessible science.

SOFIA, which is a jumbo jet fitted with an infrared telescope, recently flew through the "central flash" of Pluto.  This is the area where researchers can get the most complete sense of Pluto’s skies and record how much of Pluto’s atmosphere absorbed the starlight.  

TVI Jeff Killebrew recently flew on SOFIA and has been sharing his experiences with students and teachers.

Read the full article at:


Archived Hubble Hangout video on 3D printing and technology in astronomy education and research.  The 3D Astronomy Project at the Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA Goddard have created innovative education materials and 3D models of astronomical objects using #Hubble data.

Tony Darnell, Dr. Carol Christian and Scott Lewis discuss how 3D printing is being used in both education and research, as well as helping students and researchers who are visually impaired.

This guide describes 28 of the most common birds in North America, with a recording of their voices; includes a listing of different habitats and the birds common to each.

Source: Natural History Education, Science, Technology

R.G. Baldwin shares ideas about making physics concepts accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.  He is a Professor of Computer Information Technology at Austin Community College in Austin, TX and is interested in helping students with visual impairments overcome barriers when studying science.  The materials on this site are intended to supplement an introductory Physics class in high school or college.  Topics include:

  • Motion
  • Force
  • Energy
  • Angular Momentum

The site also includes information about creating tactile graphics and links to using supplemental materials, such as a graphing board, protractor, etc.

Students who are blind should not be excluded from physics courses because of inaccessible textbooks. The modules in this collection present physics concepts in a format that students with visual impairments can read using accessibility tools, such as an audio screen reader and an electronic line-by-line braille display. These modules are intended to supplement and not to replace the physics textbook.

Source: Richard Baldwin

This interactive website is full of practical ideas for hands-on lessons, resources, materials, and more. Subscribe to the blog, ask questions, and share your ideas with an online community of practice of educators interested in making science accessible to students with visual impairments.

Source: Perkins eLearning

This section of the interactive website includes information about products and instructional materials for teaching science to students with visual impairments.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

In this webcast, Perkins science teacher Kate Fraser outlines teaching strategies and adaptations to make science lessons and activities accessible to students who are visually impaired. Find even more resources more at the Perkins Accessible Science website.

Source: Webcast, Perkins School for the Blind

"The AccessSTEM website is a space where K-12 teachers, postsecondary educators, and employers learn to make classroom and employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) accessible to individuals with disabilities, and share promising practices."

Adapted Curriculum Enhancement (ACE) seeks to provide research-based educational products and services for students with visual impairments.  Their website offers some hands-on activities on topics such as:

  • Spongy Universe
  • Dynamic Universe
  • Tracing Origins Thought Experiments
  • Feel the Impact

The materials include tactile files, audio files, and student text.

Acorn Naturalists offers a host of 3-D models appropriate for students with visual impairment.


The following is from the Acorn Naturalists website:

This site is filled with ideas and tools for planning your programs, enriching your curriculum, and getting children interested in science and nature. Acorn Naturalists' resources are designed to add depth, zest, and inspiration to your programs. This year, our 26th, we've added hundreds of new products, including replicas, hands-on activity kits, field equipment, interpretive tools, curricula, and other engaging resources.

Who we are...

Acorn Naturalists was started over a quarter century ago by two educators interested in developing and distributing high quality resources for the trail and classroom. The founders are still involved on a daily basis, working closely with a dedicated and informed staff. 


Evolving Universe and Feel the Impact are NASA astronomy modules adapted for students with visual impairments. Both include alternate student texts and tactile graphics cards. The SEE Project develops "Braille / tactile … space science activities and observing programs that actively engage blind and visually impaired students from elementary grades through introductory college level in space science."

Source: Initiative to Develop Education though Astronomy and Space Science (IDEAS)

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments is a handbook from American Printing House for the Blind (APH) for classroom teachers and teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVIs). It provides suggestions for making science accessible to students with vision loss. It includes:

  • Advance Preparation Checklist alerting the teacher to orientation and safety issues
  • Skills Checklist readying the student for laboratory and classroom activities

The Adapting Science checklists are also available as a free download at:

The SETI Institute’s NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador Program seeks to engage learners of all ages in NASA's science education programs and activities.
Visit their website to learn about new research, upcoming events, and resources for educators and students related to astronomy and the study of life in the universe.

OSHA standards and procedures for protecting the eyes in the workplace.

Source: ISHN (Industrial Safety & Hygiene News)

This Tactile Astronomy section of Amazing Space features a library of selected Hubble images that can be printed in a tactile format.  It opened in celebration of Hubble's 20th Anniversary, on April, 2010. Images can be easily printed on microcapsule paper and "puffed" in a thermal fuser. These specially prepared PDFs include braille headings and embedded text for screen readers that describes the featured celestial object and what astronomers are learning about it optimized for low-vision users and screen readers. Tactile Astronomy also includes a "special projects" section that currently features the limited-edition Tactile Carina Nebula booklet, a 17-by-11–inch color image embossed with lines, slashes, and other markings that correspond to objects within the nebula’s fantasy landscape of bubbles, valleys, mountains, and pillars.

If you have questions about our tactile Hubble images or the Tactile Astronomy site, please send an e-mail to:

For itinerant TVIs who are adapting chemistry for a braille student, these guidelines will be invaluable.   The 20-page document includes:

  • Basic Guidance on When to Switch
  • UEB Rule for Use of Opening and Closing Nemeth Indicators
  • Additional Guidelines
  • Formatting

The guidelines are available for free download in PDF or BRF format on the BANA (Braille Authority of North America) website.


Maylene Bird shares teaching tips on cells, microscopes, diagrams and models, dissecting, and measuring.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

This page has links to various biology lessons, a list of errors and omissions in the Holt Biology Book (2004), and diagrams that can be downloaded to accompany the text.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

This site features two newspaper articles about "small but significant breakthroughs" in science education for students who are blind: Camp Eureka, a natural history camp in Montana; and a dissection class at Colorado Center for the Blind.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)