Through science education, students come to better understand their natural world. Using a hands-on approach to instruction, the curriculum supports learning in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth, space, and environmental sciences.
In addition to content knowledge, the BC K-12 Science Curriculum encourages students to ask questions, work collaboratively, test hypotheses and use data analysis and critical thinking skills to guide meaningful decision-making processes that impact their lives.
Science Curriculum - Students with Visual Impairments
Research with samples of students visual impairments has found that these learners may hold unique misconceptions of scientific concepts when compared with those held by their peers with typical vision (Wild & Koehler, 2017). These misconceptions may result from reduced opportunities for incidental learning resulting from complete or partial visual impairment. The teacher of students with visual impairments works with classroom and subject-area teachers to ensure meaningful adaptations to materials, models, equipment and to pre-teach any science skills needed for successful inclusion in lessons and labs. Students with visual impairments will also need more time to both preview and complete inquiry activities such as experiments than peers with typical vision (Supalo, Humphrey, Malouk, Wohlers, & Carlson, 2016).
Examples of Adaptations for Science
- Interact with 3D models of plant and animal cells and compare the common or unique organelles between each.
- Spreading tactile shapes representing stars on the floor of the classroom and ask students to make constellations using these shapes and their bodies.
- Explore large print or braille format periodic tables and brainstorm ways to design a 3D printed version that would be more informative/interactive.
Connections to the Expanded Core Curriculum
Knowledge and skill development in the Core and Expanded Core Curricula are mutually reinforcing and together enrich student learning. Below are examples of connections between Science and the ECC.
- Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations of lab reports for sharing findings with peers.
- Using interactive tools such as the Talking Tactile Tablet to explore graphics, schematics, and cross-section diagrams.
- Using a variety of low vision devices and technology to examine specimens and models (e.g., a desktop CCTV as a “Magnification Centre” in a primary classroom).
- Ask a lab partner to describe the teacher’s whole-class demonstrations.
- Using modified plastic syringes to deliver specific small volumes during experiments.
- Creating high-quality print graphics, tactile graphics, or 3D models of content that is displayed on posters in the science lab.
Resources to Support Instruction
PRCVI Library Catalogue
American Printing House (2008). Sense of Science series. Louisville, KY: APH. Listed below are the three resource kits available from PRCVI:
Fraser, K. & Zatta, M. C. (2016). Science literacy: A curriculum for all students with sensory impairments. Watertown, MA: Perkins School for the Blind.
Hoffmann, R. & Kitchel, E. (2006). Adapting science for students with visual impairments: A handbook for the classroom teacher and teacher of the visually impaired. Louisville, KY: American Printing House
- The PRCVI Library contains over 100 3D models from diverse areas such as anatomy, genetic, geography, and human sexuality.
CEC Division on Visual Impairments and Deafblindness (2016). Full STEM Ahead!. Visual Impairment and Deafblind Education Quarterly, 61 (4). 1-161. Available at [.DOC format download]: https://higherlogicdownload.s3.amazonaws.com/SPED/d2199768-679e-41f6-aa2a-e9d3b5b748c8/UploadedImages/VIDBEQ.61.4.2016.Word.docx
Fraser, K. (2014). Accessible science: Making life sciences accessible to students with visual impairments. Available at: https://www.perkinselearning.org/videos/webcast/accessible-science-making-life-sciences-accessible-students-visual-impairments
National Science Teaching Association. (n.d.). Science for students with disabilities – visual impairment. Accessed at: https://www.nsta.org/disabilities/visual.aspx
Wild, T. & Koehler, K. (2008). Teaching science to students with visual impairments. The Ohio State University. Accessed at: https://beyondpenguins.ehe.osu.edu/issue/rocks-and-minerals/teaching-science-to-students-with-visual-impairments
Supalo, C. A., Humphrey, J. R., Mallouk, T. E., Wohlers, H. D., & Carlsen, W. S. (2016). Examining the use of adaptive technologies to increase the hands-on participation of students with blindness or low vision in secondary-school chemistry and physics. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 17, 1174-1189.
Wild. T. A. & Koehler, K. E. (2017). Chapter 14: Science. In M. C. Holbrook, T, McCarthy, & C. Kamei-Hannan, (Eds.), Foundations of education Volume 2: Instructional strategies for teaching children and youths with visual impairments (3rd Ed.), (pp. 449-478). New York, NY: AFB Press.