I am traveling to Taiwan to be part of a science program for children who are visually impaired and blind. Here at Perkins we have many science activities for our students in Secondary, Lower School and the Deafblind program, as well as frequent science workshops in the Outreach program. In mainstream classes, many students who are blind benefit from science classes. There are very few science programs conducted by universities for children who are blind. What is unusual about this program in Taiwan is that it is conducted by a university that is preparing teachers in a variety of fields, including science and special education.
The program was started 6 years ago by Jong-Ching Wu, Professor of Physics at National Changhua University of Education and Director of the Changhua Branch of Yuan T. Lee Foundation of Science Education for All. Dr. WU realized that in a country where STEM careers are valued, there was a lack of science education for students who are blind. Now he organizes and conducts “science camps” in both the winter and summer for students in grades 1 through 12 who are blind. The majority of these students are in mainstream schools throughout Taiwan. One of the teachers, a graduate student of Dr. Wu, discovered the Accessible Science website a few years ago, and since then then we have exchanged ideas on a regular basis!
When Dr. Wu invited me to provide consultation, instructional and support services to the teachers and students in the summer program, I was honored. I look forward to learning many new ideas to share here, as well as sharing ideas and science activities with my colleagues in Taiwan. The teachers in Taiwan shared several pictures with me from last year’s science “camp”. Activities included experiments and experiences from the physical sciences and biology. In the pictures, a group of 3 students siphon water up some tubes, in another activity a young boy feels a snake encircle his arm, and remarks that it feels cold!
To learn more about this program, see also: Hands-on Science Activities for Students in Taiwan Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired