Ask a Mentor
By Gabe Kraljevic
Posted on 2018-05-14
Do you have some suggestions for how to modify a science experiment for students with physical disabilities that prevent them from doing the activities? – A., Arkansas
There are many ways you can modify the experience for students with disabilities. Specific labs may have special modifications, but here are some general ideas:
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 usually many steps to an experiment. 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. Use phones or tripod-mounted cameras to photograph or video record experiments for later observations or writing up lab reports.
Safety comes first! A person with limited mobility may have to take more precautions to ensure they can do the work properly or move away from danger quickly.
Keep in mind that the object of an experiment is to answer a question by deriving meaningful, objective data in a controlled environment. The skill of using lab equipment is secondary in my opinion. However, phone apps, infrared thermometers or computer-based probes could be easier to use and read when measuring physical data.
Hope this helps!
Graphic credit: Ltljltlj via Wikimedia Commons
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