Elementary Science

Differentiation in Science

Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 PM

Hello! Does anyone have some suggestions for how to modify a science experiment for students with physical disabilities that prevent them from doing the activities?

Allison Haley
Allison Haley
220 Activity Points

Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:04 PM

Hello Allison,
There are many ways you can modify the experience for students with disabilities and if you want specific examples could you give us an idea of what kind of experiment and what kind of disabilities we are talking about?

Keep in mind that the object of an experiment is to answer a question by deriving meaningful, objective data in a controlled environment. The specifics of using equipment, I believe, is secondary. After all, equipment and measuring devices are always being updated.

In general, you should team the student up with classmates to perform experiments. Developing collaborative team skills is an important skill for everyone. There are also many steps to an experiment and, if there are physical disabilities that prevent the student from, say, pouring liquids they could still help out with brainstorming, identifying variables, reading meters, recording data, calling time intervals, double-checking data and measurements. They can even photograph or video record experiments for later observations or writing up lab reports. Would using infrared thermometers or probes be easier to use?

Hope this helps,
Gabe Kraljevic

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
1605 Activity Points

Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:22 PM

Great question! In my opinion, one of the biggest things you can do is let the student feel comfortable asking for assistance with something. Also building a positive classroom community is important here, because other students would be able to assist that student if your attention is else where. Also the NSTA website has several helpful and specific suggestions for assisting a student in the classroom who has a physical impairment.


Rachel Wilson
Rachel Wilson
180 Activity Points

Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:30 AM

First classroom culture is key. My gen ed class were always very welcoming and worked with my students from life skills who pushed in during science. The range of their abilities will help you determine what you can change. What ever you do, involve them! It means so much to them, their parents, and their paras. Most of my students could handle the hands on portions of the lads, it was the journaling where they struggled, I would make or find picture vocabulary matches or items that were more pictorial for them to use to put in their lab books.

For my sped students, again it depends. I will say my students who were more behavioral were not during science. Most of the time they outshines my gen ed students which is so rewarding to them. Again it was the journaling they struggled with. I used a variety of things with them from sentence stems, voice to text, scribing, or having them create a video.

I think the important thing is to involve them everything!

Destiny Huggins
Destiny Huggins
9880 Activity Points

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