Accessible Science Equipment

[PDF graphic] PDF Version (270 KB)      -      get Acrobat Reader

Promoting the engagement of students with disabilities

Sometimes all it takes for a student with a disability to participate in a science activity is planning ahead when selecting products for a science lab. Below are examples of products the DO-IT Center has purchased to make science activities accessible to all students. Inclusion on the list does not imply endorsement by DO-IT.

Accessible Measuring Devices

Measuring devices with large print and high contrast markings are accessible to students with low vision. In addition, it might be easier for a student who has limited hand or finger control to use a syringe rather than standard measuring spoons to measure liquids. The following everyday items are available at retailers nationwide.

Equipment Labeled with Tactile Braille

A hand-held Braille labeler (e.g., from Maxi-Aids) can be used to add Braille labels to equipment. In addition, Brailled rulers and protractors can be purchased from a variety of companies, including the following retailers.

Talking Equipment

Equipment with voice output can benefit students with visual impairments, as well as those with some types of learning disabilities. When these items also have large print, high contrast displays, they can be used by students who have a variety of disabilities. Examples of products and retailers follow.

Stirring and Filling Devices

Some products benefit students who otherwise have difficulty filling containers and/or stirring.

Non-slip Mats

Non-slip mats can be cut to fit a surface to help prevent items from tipping over or rolling away (Dycem non-slip mat, Dynamic-Living,

Tactile Image Creation

Puffy paints and waxed string can be used to add dimension and tactility to flat lines or drawings for students with visual impairments and are often available in craft stores.

Magnifying Devices

Magnifying devices are commonly available in optical shops and bookstores.

Usable Cylinders and Beakers

Plastic cylinders and beakers and items with handles and lids are often available through vendors who sell science lab products.

About DO-IT

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education. DO-IT is a collaboration of UW Information Technology and the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Washington.

To order free publications or newsletters use the DO-IT Publications Order Form; to order videos and training materials use the Videos, Books and Comprehensive Training Materials Order Form.

For further information, to be placed on the DO-IT mailing list, request materials in an alternate format, or to make comments or suggestions about DO-IT publications or web pages contact:

University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
888-972-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
206-221-4171 (fax)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane

Founder and Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

DO-IT Funding and Partners


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant # HRD- 0833504. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Copyright © 2012, 2010, University of Washington. Permission is granted to copy these materials for educational, noncommercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.