Strategies to Adapt Science Education for a Student
who is Blind to Experience Full Participation in the Laboratory.
Dr. Lillian Rankel, a high school science teacher, and Marilyn Winograd, a teacher of the blind, worked together for 2 years to totally integrate a blind student in advanced level Chemistry and Physics classes. We started with the attitude that there must be a way to make science accessible for our student. He would need to participate fully in all aspects of Honors and AP Chemistry and Physics classes, including laboratory work. Our question was not “can he?” but rather, “how can he?”
Our student participated in the ILAB (Independent Laboratory Access for the Blind) project through Penn State University and learned to use audio output probes with adapted equipment and materials.
From our research we have developed three adaptation kits to aid the student and teacher in the science classroom or laboratory:
The Tactile Adaptation Kit is a collection of materials that can be used by classroom teachers and paraprofessionals to easily and quickly transform visual aids into tactile representations.
The Multi-Sensory Lab Gear Kit contains tactile equipment, such as plastic beakers and measuring syringes, to facilitate blind and low vision students taking part in hands on laboratory activities in K-12 classes.
The Science Gear Kit, is designed to provide K-6th graders with all the equipment needed to perform science experiments and activities using tactile methods. This kit contains items such as a bucket-balance, a magnification science station and plastic test tubes with screw caps.
There is no reason for students with low vision and blindness to be just an observer in the laboratory. There is also no reason for other teachers to have to begin from scratch. The Adaptation Kits are a huge improvement to the educational enviroment of any classroom with a student who is visually impaired.
We continue our quest to share our experiences and findings with other professionals at workshop/conferences such as Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), American Chemical Society (ACS) and National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Independence Science Learning a New Direction (IsLAND)
"Creativity is intelligence having fun." Albert Einstein - Enjoy your kits and let us know any new adaptations or ideas for creative solutions!