Accessible Science Resources

Find out what's new and learn more about resources related to accessible science.

Future Reflections (2003.

Penny Leigh describes the Multisensory Space Science Kit, developed by South Carolina School of the Deaf and the Blind and NASA. She describes adaptations to teach the proximity between planets, an Alphabet of Space, and a tactile map of the solar system.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Examples of accessible biology lessons are provided by experienced teachers of the visually impaired.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

In this five-page article, Cary A. Supalo and Thomas E. Mallouk describe inexpensive laboratory adaptations that increase accessibility to experiments and classroom exercises for students who are blind or visually impaired.

Sara Larkin, Math and Science consultant from the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired presented a webinar titled "Making Physical Science Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments" focusing on the areas of physical science that include magnetism, electricity, and sound along with how these fit into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Emphasis included inquiry-based learning, teaching strategies, and how modifications can be made when working with students who are blind or visually impaired.

The webinar covers the following:

  • Magnetism
    • Modifications, Accommodations, and Materials 
    • Teaching Strategies and Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Electricity
    • Modifications, Accommodations, and Materials
    • Teaching Strategies and Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Sound
    • Modifications, Accommodations, and Materials
    • Teaching Strategies and Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Magnetism, Electricity, and Sound & Next Generation Science Standards

Click here to watch the webinar.

Click here to download the presentation in PDF format.


Science instructor Sara Larkin uses lesson plans in magnetism, electricity, and sound to demonstrate how inquiry-based learning can be modified for students with visual impairments.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

Making Science Accessible - A Guide for Teaching Introductory Physics to Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is written by experienced Perkins teachers, Michele Engelbrecht and Kate Fraser.  The book is designed for the science teacher in the mainstream science classroom working with a student with visual impairments.  It features classroom-room tested activities for students in grades 6 - 9 who are blind or visually impaired, based on the National Science Education Standards.

In this 5-minute video Perkins science teacher Kate Fraser demonstrates the use of various devices to measure liquids for a science lab with students who are totally blind or visually impaired.  Post includes full transcript and video is audio-described and captioned.


Created by HGS Hinomoto Plastics of Japan, these kits will mature your molecular structure and chemical bond models beyond marshmallows and Tinker Toys.

Source: Tech Vision

Created by HGS Hinomoto Plastics of Japan, these kits will mature your molecular structure and chemical bond models beyond marshmallows and Tinker Toys.

Source: Tech Vision

Many thanks to Jim Allan for sharing this incredible resource.  NASA has made many of their images available in 3-D format appropriate for printing utilzing a 3-D printer and is working on others.  

See the following link for these images:

Please see the following review of a MakerBot 3-D printer:

NCBYS drives "innovation in education and employment to the blind in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] subjects and careers by serving as a national clearinghouse of resources and expertise related to nonvisual scientific exploration." It includes sections for students, teachers and parents, resources, programs, and careers.

This document includes the following links: Science Teaching Standards, Standards for Professional Development for Teachers of Science, Assessment in Science Education, and Science Content Standards.

NSTA "is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all." The site contains resources for parents and information on teaching students with disabilities.

NHEST brings "education in science and natural history to special populations of children and adults, primarily by use of computer technology… (including) nature education for blind and low vision adults and children."  The site provides numerous links to sounds of nature, including bird songs and frogs.

NYISE provides a list of aids for people with blindness and visual impairment, including  CCTV manufacturers, electronic reading technology, magnification aids, print-enhancing software, Windows access, and advice for living with low vision.

When working with students who read below grade-level, it is invaluable to have text that it appropriate so as not to frustrate the student. I was introduced to Newsela at a literacy conference I recently attended.  It is a method of allowing students to read text at individual reading levels focusing on relevant content, the news.  This new addition to the Newsela family focuses on science content.  I have already used a recent article on friction as the closure to a lab on friction.  I was able to read the same article to two different classes at different reading levels with the click of a button.

The basic Newsela membership is free to educators but NewselaPro with added bells and whistles requires payment of a fee. 

The Next Generation Science Standards identify content and science and engineering practices that all students should learn from kindergarten to high school graduation. They are composed of the three dimensons from the framework developed by the National Research Council: 

  • practices
  • crosscutting concepts
  • disciplinary core ideas

They are grouped into four domains:

  • physical sciences
  • life sciences
  • earth and space sciences
  • engineering and technology

These standards are connected to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts.


This article by Kate Fraser discusses oceanography for students who are visually impaired and describes a scientific collaboration which allows students with visual impairments to experience oceanography firsthand.  The project, which is called OceanInsight, gives students who are visually impaired the unique opportunity to study oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Here, students learn in an interactive way from a practicing research scientist who shares their particular disability. Amy Bower works as a physical oceanographer and senior scientist at the WHOI, and is legally blind. 

At the WHOI exhibit center, students sit in on research labs, handle whale bones, and even explore the R/V Knorr, a typical research vessel that has special accommodations for the visually impaired. Bower shares with the students how she uses adaptive equipment to facilate her job, and the assistive technology is briefly described in the article. Overall, OceanInsight's purpose was to introduce students with visual impairments careers in oceanography and the geosciences that they might have considered unavailable to them.

This article describes a joint venture between Perkins School for the Blind and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which provides students who are visually impaired with an interactive way to study oceanography.

Source: Perkins eLearning Accessible Science