Physical Education Resources

The resources in this section provide an introduction to the importance of physical education, fitness, and exercise to the well-being of people with visual impairments. It also includes ideas for adaptive physical education and strategies to encourage students who are blind or visually impaired to increase participation in gym class.

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.

 

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.

 

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:  http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/models

Please see the following review of a MakerBot 3-D printer:  https://www.perkinselearning.org/accessible-science/makerbot-replicator-5th-generation-3-d-model-maker

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.

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.


 

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.

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.

http://www.tsbvi.edu/component/content/article/7-instructional-resources...

SCIVIS (Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students) offers a wonderful opportunity each September for students in grades 4-12 who are interested in Science and Math to attend a week-long camp . SCIVIS is:

  • A week long camp that takes place at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Coordinated by teachers of the visually impaired
  • Accessible; computers used by students in the Space Camp Programs have been adapted for speech and large print output; materials and equipment used during missions are available in braille and large print
  • Participatory - students participate fully (each student is screened based on their eye medical condition --limitations may be placed on some)
 
SCIVIS is actually 4 separate programs:
  • Space Camp (grade 4-6)
  • Space Academy (grade 7-9)
  • Advanced Academy focus on space travel. (grade 10-12)
  • Aviation Challenge  (programs for grades 4-6, 7-9, 10-12)

Download the flyer.

 

What will students learn?

Space Camp Activities Correlated with National Science Education Standards Content Standards 9th- 12th Grade

In addition to learning science and math, students consistenly increase their self-esteem and learn skills related to the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).

What is the cost?

The cost for the program is $700, which covers room, board, and the program, but not transportation.

Scholarships are available from

SCIVIS (Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students) offers a wonderful opportunity each September for students in grades 4-12 who are interested in Science and Math to attend a week-long camp .  SCIVIS is:

  • A week long camp that takes place at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Coordinated by teachers of the visually impaired
  • Accessible; computers used by students in the Space Camp Programs have been adapted for speech and large print output; materials and equipment used during missions are available in braille and large print
  • Participatory - students participate fully (each student is screened based on their eye medical condition --limitations may be placed on some)
 
SCIVIS is actually 4 separate programs:
  • Space Camp (grade 4-6)
  • Space Academy (grade 7-9)
  • Advanced Academy focus on space travel. (grade 10-12)
  • Aviation Challenge  (programs for grades 4-6, 7-9, 10-12)

Download the flyer.

 

What will students learn?

Space Camp Activities Correlated with National Science Education Standards Content Standards 9th- 12th Grade

In addition to learning science and math, students consistenly increase their self-esteem and learn skills related to the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).

What is the cost?

The cost for the program is $700, which covers room, board, and the program, but not transportation.

Scholarships are available from

This site focuses on Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS), offering information, photos, and links to numerous articles describing the program.

From the Exceptional Science website:

The Tactile Atlas of Biology includes print and contracted braille.  Diagrams are shown using raised lines of multiple sizes, tactile textures, and raised graphics allowing students who are blind to better understand biology.  Low vision students will also benefit as all the raised graphics are in high contrast sharp color.

 

Diagrams include:

  • food chain
  • muscle cell and nerve cell 
  • cell membrane 
  • chloroplast and mitochondria
  • DNA
  • Cell differentiation
  • main tissue of a plant
  • unicellular organisms
  • buds growing into branches
  • open and closed stomata
  • photosynthesis

And more.

This book is spiral bound heavy card stock paper with thin plastic backing.

From the Exceptional Teaching Website:

The Tactile Atlas of Electricity includes print and contracted braille.  Diagrams are shown using raised lines of multiple sizes, tactile textures and raised graphics allowing students who are blind to better understand electricity.  Low vision students will also benefit as all the raised graphics are in high contrast sharp color.

Diagrams include magnetism, interaction of electric charge, magnetic field of electric current, electricity and magnetism, symbol of electric circuit, series circuit and current, parallel circuit ad current, voltage of series circuit, voltage of parallel circuit, Ohm's law, and more 

This book is spiral bound heavy card stock paper with thin plastic backing. 

Sarah Hughes, who is the Deputy Headteacher at the Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, UK, has created a tactile model of the digestive system, using knitted materials.  This video shows how it can be used to help students who are blind or visually impaired to understand the digestive system more clearly.

Touch Graphics, in collaboration with scientists at the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, announces the Talking Tactile Pen! This tool achieves a new level of portability and sophistication in audio-tactile interactive computing. As students explore various raised-line and textured images,they touch the tip of a Livescribe Echo pen to any feature they would like to know about. The pen’s on-board computer determines its location on the tactile surface, then plays spoken descriptions through a tiny speaker or headphones. Subsequent taps in the same spot reveal more information. A simple user graphical user interface allows students to adjust volume, hear the previous message again or get help.

The Talking Tactile Pen comes with a charging cable and non-ink stylus. The smart pan can be used to record lectures or to interact with our STEM Apps. The included STEM Binder is a rigid loose leaf book for holding your pen and your growing collection of STEM Apps.

A 51 page manual from 2000 full of tips for adapting science experiments for students who are blind or visually impaired. Written by Matthew Dion, Karen Hoffman, and Amy Matter from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It includes sections on Teaching the Blind and Visually Impaired, General Guidelines for Making Adaptations, Laboratory Adaptations, Specific Experiments, and a Resource List.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind
Wanda Merced, having lost her vision as a young woman in college, continued in her study of physics.  She speaks about the uncommon practice of "listening to the stars"  Her audience is asked to wear blindfolds as she describes the sonification of data. She proceeds to allow the students to "listen" to the stars.  A brief fascinating talk worth 15 minutes of your time.

This Ted Talk features Chelsea Cook, who is a physics major at Virginia tech. She enjoys astronomy, reading, and creative writing. Her ultimate goal is to become an astronaut who writes poetry in space. In her talk "Creating Interfaces, Creating Experiences," Chelsea questions how we handle problems and how we can solve them by taking another perspective.

Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy by Noreen Grice is designed to make astronomy accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.  The book uses a combination of braille and large-print captions with photos from the Hubble Space Telescope and embossed shapes that represent various astronomical objects such as stars, gas clouds, and jets of matter streaming into space.

The Whalemobile is a life-sized (43 feet long) humpback whale you can touch.  It is modeled after a real whale, named Nile, who spends her summers off the coast of Massachusetts. Cynde McInnis brings Nile into schools, libraries and summer programs sharing her 22 years of experience as a whale watch naturalist with children. Whale biology, sounds, natural history, and individual identification are among a few topics she presents using slides, sounds and video. 
 
What started as a love for whales when she was a child, has led to a deep desire to protect our planet. By bringing Nile into your school (and taking your students inside her), she hopes to share this passion and inspire the next generation of ocean advocates.
 
Nile recently came to visit Perkins School for the Blind.
 
For more information, see http://www.thewhalemobile.com/

Pages