This post is designed to give practical ideas for the TVI with a student in a middle school science class focusing on physical science and earth/space science. This course is offered in 8th grade in most of Texas, but may differ as to the grade level in other states.
Products to Purchase
I recommend buying these items in the spring if possible, in preparation for a class the following fall.
Purchase from Sources Other than APH (or from APH, but NOT available on Quota Funds)
Talking Labquest with temperature probe or Talking thermometer: The Talking LabQuest is a fairly expensive investment, but may be available through a Region Service Center (for those in Texas). Some schools use the LabQuest already, in which case the probes wouldn’t have to be purchased.
Talking Scientific Calculator (if student doesn’t already have one) – Several are available. Also see app section below for (almost) free app.
Talking Scale – These are available from a number of vendors, such as Independent Living Aids and Maxi Aids. Kitchen scales may be the most useful for the classroom, although talking bathroom scales are available too.
Wikki Stix– Very useful for a quick raised line – Order lots!
Glue gun and mini-glue sticks These will also come in very handy for preparing quick models. Available at any craft store.
This app was designed by an incredible student from California, Hari Bhimaraju. Some of the concepts on these apps are above the middle school level, but they are nonetheless very helpful for information on basic atomic structure in an accessible format including sound and visual modalities. This app will be appropriate if your student has access to apps on his/her device.
Optional Materials – motivational and fun!
Reach for the Stars iBook for use with an iPad. This product is used with overlays to provide tactile feedback for the student. The only cost of the product is $25.00 for the overlays. The iBook is a free download. Please see a review of the product for more information.
Touch the Universe – A NASA product which contains amazing Hubble Telescope images as tactile graphics.
Preparation for the TVI to do:
Read over the descriptions of the products you are purchasing on this site to familiarize yourself with them.
Give the science teacher copies of the guidebooks for the APH Astronomy Kit , Basic Science Tactile Graphics , and the AZER Periodic Table Set during prep week or the spring prior, if possible.
Watch the following 2 short videos (approximately 5 minutes each) by Greg Williams, a chemist who is blind, in order to become more comfortable with organizing and setting up the lab environment for a student who is visually impaired:
Science Techniques: Lab Preparation: This video from Washington State School for the Blind demonstrates how to safely organize and set up a laboratory bench for students with visual impairments. Dr. Greg Williams from Independence Science discusses ways in which students who are blind or who have low vision can actively participate in hands-on experiments.
Science Techniques: Lab Experiments: In this video from Washington State School for the Blind Dr. Greg Williams from Independence Science demonstrates how to safely conduct and analyze laboratory experiments with students who are blind or visually impaired. These techniques include recommendations for material preparation and a demonstration experiment, and adapted equipment.
As the school year begins:
Meet with the teacher and discuss when each of the adapted products will be be needed. Use the teacher’s syllabus for the year if possible. Make sure that the adapted materials needed for the beginning of the year are left with the teacher and that he/she understands them.
If possible, leave all the materials for the year with the teacher or plan to deliver them at least two weeks prior to instruction on related content. Definitely leave the guidebooks for the Sense of Science Astronomy Kit, the AZER kit, and the Basic Science Tactile Graphics.
Schedule a meeting with the teacher at the point in time (according to the syllabus) when content is to go from physical science to earth/space or vice versa. The order of instruction in classes may differ, but the important thing is to meet and discuss which new materials are needed at this junction and field questions that the teacher may have about the adapted materials.