ERIC Number: EJ1035146
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Reference Count: 1
Let's Get Physical
Kahn, Sami; Wild, Tiffany; Woolsey, Lynn; Haegele, Justin A.
Science and Children, v51 n5 p37-43 Jan 2014
How do students with visual impairments measure liquids? Can a student with cerebral palsy participate in hands-on science activities? What challenges might a hearing-impaired student have in my science class? These are just some of the important questions increasingly being asked by science teachers, thanks in part to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which together mandate standards-based science opportunities for students with disabilities. The "Next Generation Science Standards" ("NGSS") echo the goal of quality science experiences for all students in a section entitled, "All Standards, All Students" (NGSS Lead States 2013; Appendix D), which describes the manner in which the Standards support students from traditionally underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities. Over 6.5 million students with disabilities receive special education services under the IDEA, so ensuring that teachers have effective strategies for implementing the "NGSS" with students with disabilities is critical for reaching the "Science for All" goal. In this article the authors present two typical elementary science investigations to illustrate the importance of accommodations for students with physical disabilities. They chose these particular investigations because they represent different disciplines (i.e., physical and life sciences) and involve a range of science content and process skills. They intentionally present the lesson plans without accommodations or regard for accessibility to highlight the challenges they present and necessitate the accommodations they subsequently recommended. The authors feel this is an important illustration for teachers, as many lesson plans presented in curriculum guides fail to consider the needs of students with disabilities, so it is up to the teacher to recognize the challenges within each lesson and develop accommodations accordingly. Lesson summaries are discussed here, while complete lesson plans in 5E Learning Cycle format, including assessment rubrics, are available online (see NSTA Connection). Note that while each lesson's content is aligned with "NGSS" grade bands, the practices demonstrated and adapted are applicable to all elementary grades.
Descriptors: Physical Disabilities, Science Instruction, Equal Education, Academic Accommodations (Disabilities), Access to Education, Special Education, Teaching Methods, Academic Standards, Elementary School Science, Science Process Skills, Lesson Plans, Accessibility (for Disabled), Science Activities
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nsta.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A