Accessible Science Resources

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

The Accessible Science website from Perkins eLearning offers a number of resources and articles related to oceanography and students who are blind or visually impaired.

Source: Perkins eLearning Accessible Science

This article introduces students who are blind and actively participating in various science projects, including digging for dinosaur fossils, examining soil, and measuring rainfall.

Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

This article introduces students who are blind and actively participating in various science projects, including digging for dinosaur fossils, examining soil, and measuring rainfall.

Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

This site provides information about the vision care field, with resources on training, career and salaries as an optician.


What could be cooler for middle schoolers than Gross Science?

PBS Learning Media provides a host of TRULY gross resources for just this readersthip.  

Why do we smell different when we’re sick?

Why does cheese smell like feet?

Why don’t vultures get sick from eating rotting meat?

Science is filled with stories: some of them are beautiful and some of them are gross. Really gross. Gross Science, a YouTube series hosted by Anna Rothschild, tells bizarre stories from the slimy, smelly, creepy world of science.

In this collection, you’ll find original short-form videos and DIY experiments from Gross Science, which is produced by NOVA and PBS Digital Studios. Learn about amphibians that eat their mother’s skin, strange uses for bacon, how poop can be used to cure an infection, and more gross science topics.

To see the full list, visit: NOVA: Gross Science Collection

Students from Perkins School for the Blind Outreach Program attended Space Camp.  During this experience, they have an opportunity to meet other students with visual impairments from all around the United States, while working on the Expanded Core Curriculum, as well as math and science skills.  Students talk about what they have done at Space Camp and they all enjoy the simulators.

This 5-minute video on YouTube presents the program and the experience of the students.


The PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.

PhET is committed to making the simulations accessible to all learners.  Their accessible simulations include: verbal descriptions and feedback, the use of sound and music to represent foundational science and mathematics relationships, and alternative navigation that moves beyond mouse or touch inputs. They are creating research-based, accessible STEM education resources to ensure that all students can experience the benefits of PhET Interactive Simulations.

The site includes teaching resources, with tips and strategies for including simulations in the classroom. They encourage teachers to share activities on the site.

The following description is from the APH Website:
This fun, colorful kit can be used for numerous educational and recreational activities! Use optional products for more possibilities.
Includes a felt covered board measuring 20 3/4 x 13 inches, and a wide variety of colorful VELCRO® brand-backed pieces that attach to the board in an infinite number of patterns. Features over 100 pieces in many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. Extra VELCRO® brand hook material provided to create additional tactile pieces.

Sample Activities:

  • Mapping: streets, homes, offices, etc.
  • Charting: flow charts of organizations, family trees, processes, etc.
  • Basic concepts: shapes, numbers, geometry, etc. 
  • Art: provides a wonderful palette of shapes, textures, and colors to create your personal masterpiece

The large print/braille guidebook, which is included, has suggestions and sample layouts in print and raised-line graphic form.  

WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD — Small parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision


Maylene Bird and Karen Poston describe how to use brailled squares or dark lined large squares on a whole sheet of paper with binder clips to represent the dominant and recessive traits. They include diagrams that can be downloaded in various formats.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

This checklist of questions ensures that seniors get the information they need from eye care professionals.

Source: VisionAware

Students with visual impairment can be involved using radio methods to measure meteor impacts through NASA's SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute -- formerly Lunar Science Institute).

Please see the link for more detail.

Many thanks to my astronomy-loving colleague, Chris Tabb, for calling this resource to my attention.  

Produced by a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute and SAS, Reach for the Stars is a free iBook available for download to use on an iPad. It presents students in grades 4-8 with a new approach to astronomy, using interactive interviews, graphs, interactive questions, and a glossary.  Reach for the Stars is fully accessible to students with visual impairments and is an exciting new resource to expose all students to critical STEM content.

Special Features include:
  • Voice-over screen reader on iPad compatibility
  • Refreshable Braille display compatibility
  • Sonification of data visualizations
  • Read-aloud functionality
  • Captioning
  • Tactile overlays for interactive images available from National Braille Press 
  • Printable 3-D models of Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope

This amazing iBook was created by Ada Lopez, Ed Summers, and Elena Sabbi.  Content is mapped to state standards.

The 20 regional service centers in Texas serve the state's school districts through innovative projects and services. Region 10's website includes this 3-credit course, "Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments," an overview of assistive technology assessment. Specific to the Texas curriculum, but useful for all parents and teachers.

TSynopses of current research findings, with links to further information and full texts.

Source: Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

Kay Pruett and Jim Allan from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) have compiled resources on robotics for students with visual impairments.

SESD "exists to promote and advance the teaching of science and the development of curricula and instructional materials for students at all levels, with any manners of disability in the learning process"; includes teacher resources and an online newsletter.

This paper offers "suggestions for modifying science instruction and instructional materials to meet the learning needs of visually impaired students," with "relevant examples in physical, chemical and biological sciences"; includes discussion of policy implications, alternative assessment and educational technology.

Source: Electronic Journal of Science Education

Lillian Rankel, a science teacher and Marilyn Winograd, Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI), have teamed up to create this website for teaching science to students who are blind or visually impaired.  Included are:

  • Learning Experiences in STEM at the Pre-K Through 4th Grade Levels
  • Podcast of an interview with Lillian and Marilyn
  • Strategies to Adapt Science Education for a Student who is Blind to Experience Full Participation in the Laboratory

Here you'll find low-cost adaptation kits to bring meaning to science lessons for students with visual impairments. MDW also provides training workshops for staff working with blind science students. Also on this page, the Out of Sight book of science experiments for grades 2-5.

Part of the Perkins Webinar series, this presentation provides an overview of the "5-E format" of an inquiry lesson, and discusses recent research on inquiry-based education for students with visual impairments.

Source: Perkins eLearning