Books for Teaching Accessible Science
The list indicates if the book is available in large print or Braille for students or if it is a resource that we as teachers particularly liked. Some of these books are also available as files that can be downloaded to portable book readers. Click on the links below to jump to books under that particular heading.
Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments: A Handbook for the Classroom teacher and Teacher of the Visually Impaired. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind, 2006.This extremely helpful reference includes a chapter designed to give background information about blindness to teachers who have little or no experience working with a student with visual impairments. Chapter 1 also includes a list of vendors to which the writers assigned a code of initials. These initials are used throughout the book. Other chapters include information on adapting equipment, constructing tactile models, collecting data, and reporting data.
Basic Science Tactile Graphics and Basic Science Tactile Graphics Teacher’s Guide. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind, 2002. Reach for this guide when the diagram in your standard text has not been reproduced in the Braille text or the reproduction is hard to interpret. This collection includes tactile graphics of some of the most commonly used pictures in science texts, including biology, physics, and earth science. The teacher’s guide includes information useful to teachers who have little experience with using tactile graphics. The Guide reminds instructors that when using a tactile graphic in science you are also teaching the student how to use tactile graphics. The teaching suggestions include suggestions for wording to use when explaining the graphic to the student.
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Exploring the Way Life Works: The Science of Biology. Hoagland, Mahlon, Bert Dodson, and Judith Hauk. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers: 2001. This richly illustrated text explains complex biology concepts using every day objects. It is not available in Braille or large print, and the pictures would be difficult to replicate tactually; however, it is an excellent resource for any biology teacher who wants some new ideas to clarify concepts. It is also useful to teachers of the visually impaired who want to develop hands-on lessons to supplement classroom instruction for their students. We wish it had been our textbook when we were in school!
Basic Tactile Anatomy Atlas. Tamburlin, Judith, Ph.D. and Charles Severin, Ph.D. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind, no date given. This is another useful production from The American Printing House. The tactile diagrams of many parts of the human anatomy are clearer than in many textbooks that have been transcribed into Braille. Used together with models of organs, these graphics help clarify the study of human anatomy.
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Concepts and Challenges: Earth Science, Fourth Edition. Parsippany, NJ: Globe Fearon Inc., Pearson Learning Group, 2003. Available in large print and Braille. Linked to the National Science Education Standards for grades 5 through 8, but could be useful for high school students working below grade level. Each chapter is divided into lessons covering one topic at a time. There are hands-on activities to accompany every lesson; many of these are easily adapted for students with visual impairments.
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Concepts and Challenges: Earth Science, Fourth Edition. Parsippany, NJ: Globe Fearon Inc., Pearson Learning Group, 2003. Described in the Earth Science section, Chapter 10 of this book has some excellent activities for Physical Oceanography.
Project Earth Science: Physical Oceanography. Ford, Brent A. and P. Sean Smith. Arlington, VA: NSTA press, 2000.This book has a wealth of material for middle school Earth Science teachers working with students with grade level science skills. Also includes information for interdisciplinary study. Many of the hand on activities are easily adapted for students with visual impairments.
The Mysterious Ocean Highway: Benjamin Franklin and the Gulf Stream. Heiligman, Deborah. Austin, Texas: Steck-Vaughn Company, 2000.Part of the Turnstone Ocean Pilot Series created in collaboration with Woods Hole. The series includes a variety of small books, most less than 50 pages in length on a variety of oceanography topics aimed at elementary school students. Many of the activities are easily adapted for students with visual impairments. We are looking into having the material put into an audio format. This series may be out of print but copies are available from www.Amazon.com and www.Alibris.com. Other books in this series are: Artic Investigation: Exploring the Frozen Ocean by Karen Romano Young and Off to Sea: An Inside Look at a Research Cruise by Deborah Kovacs (One of our teachers used this book to help explain her trip on the RV Knorr in the Fall of 2007 to our students).
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Chemistry. Packard, Kathleen A, Donald H. Jacobs, and Robert H. Marshal. Shoreview, MN: Pearson/AGS Globe, 2007. Available in large print and Braille. Takes some very large chemistry concepts and presents them in digestible pieces. Math is a necessary part of chemistry and this text gives step by step directions for each new concept. For some students the math may get in the way of the chemistry concepts. We are supplementing this text with readings from other textbooks. Many of the laboratory experiments are very visual, so we have substituted others that rely less on visual observations.
Concepts and Challenges: Physical Science, Fourth Edition. Parsippany, NJ: Globe Fearon Inc., Pearson Learning Group, 2003. Available in large print and Braille. Although designed for the middle school students, this text includes many ideas for hands-on teaching activities for both physics and chemistry.
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Introduction to Technology. Pierce, Alan J. and Dennis Karwatka. Peoria, IL: Glencoe/McGraw Hill, 2005. Designed for students in grades 6 through 8, this book has many hands on activities for a technology engineering class that could be adapted for students with visual impairments. We used parts of this text with an eighth grade class here at Perkins. It is aligned with the National Standards for Technological Literacy.
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Periodic Table of the Elements: Reference Booklet, Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind, 2005. The APH’s periodic table comes with this reference guide in both large print and Braille. This handy guide would be useful for any chemistry student, not only students with visual impairments. It contains seven tables of information each referencing the elements in different ways. For example, Table A lists the elements in order of atomic number, then it shows the atomic symbol, element name, and atomic mass. In table B, the symbol is listed followed by the element name, atomic number, and atomic mass. A wall sized periodic table might include all this information but it would be difficult to read. The Braille periodic table included has the atomic number and symbol, and is small enough to fit in a notebook. The fact that this reference guide and periodic table can fit into a student’s backpack is a major advantage!
The American Heritage Student Science Dictionary, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. (Available in large print) This book provides clear definitions of science vocabulary for students in grades 7 through 12.
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