In this Teachable Moment, Kate demonstrates a variety of strategies and materials that can be used to assist students with low vision when measuring as part of a Science lesson. Kate demonstrates the use of a measuring cup, a graduated cylinder and a syringe and talks about ways to provide color contrast and marking so that the student can identify the amount to be measured.
FRASER: Hello, I'm Kate Fraser from the Perkins School for the Blind. Today's science tip and teachable moment is about how to pour liquids for a student who is visually impaired and has low vision.
We're going to consider the graduated cylinder, which is commonly introduced in the science classes in elementary school.
We're going to use a syringe for more precise measurement, and we have a measuring cup that is marked in milliliters.
We've tinted our water because very often, if it's not going to affect the experiment, water that's colored will be much easier for a student to do with low vision.
However, this also can be done with water that has not been colored.
The graduated cylinder is correctly used by the scientists, bringing themselves down to look at the line at eye level because there's a meniscus that forms when water is poured and the water sticks to the sides a bit of the graduated cylinder, so the more accurate measurement is obtained by achieving a stance of being at eye level with the water.
Normally when I'm teaching this I'm sitting next to the student, but for the purpose of this activity, I'm sitting as if I were across from the student.
Let's first try this with pouring just with this yellow marker on here that helps, for all students, make the lines clearer, particularly at the 10 milliliter marks.
I have that to the rear of the cylinder, holding it away from me, and then I'm pouring. I also have the student listen and use a pitcher with a good spout on it because it's easier to pour. I'm going to start getting down now and making sure that I'm at eye level.
I can see it and that looks pretty good to me.
So, 50 milliliters.
Now, if that was difficult for the student, perhaps adding a Wikki Stix at the desired level might work.
I could add a Wikki Stix here at 50 to help make the mark a little more visible.
Let's say I wanted, for example, a more precise amount, maybe I'd have a sighted assistant mark it.
Let's say the experiment called for 35 or 36, put the Wikki Stix at that particular level, and then the student could pour.
And again, looking to see when the level lines up at eye level with the Wikki Stix. Eh, it's pretty close. Good enough for elementary school, probably. And again, with practice, the student will become more accurate.
Transfer this into my experiment here.
Now, let's look at this measuring cup, which has been marked by the teacher. These marks that are on here are impossible for a student with low vision to see, most likely. So, the teacher said for this experiment we need 200 milliliters of liquid.
So, this has been marked with a Wikki Stix and the student will put it so that that's available, move the student or have them move themselves back and look at it and get a sense about where that is.
Line this up, make sure that it's all there, begin to pour, continue to pour, and stop.
Then we go back and add it to the experiment.
Scientists very often use syringes because it's possible to get a much more precise measurement with a syringe than you can with a measuring cup or a graduated cylinder.
So this one has been marked at the proper amount of milliliters that you wish to syringe up into this by the sighted assistant, the lab assistant, or the teacher.
And, make sure the syringe is placed all the way in.
Bring it in, bring it in, and the black plunger, the bottom of the black plunger will line up, in this case, with the amount, and we add that to our experiment.
And that's today's teachable moment about measuring for students with low vision.