Garfield-Palouse High School: A Promising Practice in Creating an Inclusive High School Science Lab

DO-IT Factsheet #353

George Landle is a science teacher at Garfield-Palouse High School [1] in Palouse, Washington. Having a student who uses a wheelchair made him aware of difficulties experienced by students with mobility impairments as they attempt to access standard science lab stations. The stations in his lab were all built at a height that required students to sit on stools or stand to use them.

With funding from a DO-IT AccessSTEM [2] Minigrant, Mr. Landle created a lab station that allows a student with a mobility impairment to participate in high school biology, chemistry, and physics lab activities from a seated position. Mr. Landle purchased an adjustable lab station, a lap-top computer with assistive technology, a microscope and flexicam, and appropriate beaker, slides, and safety equipment. Mr. Landle integrated the accessible station within the lab, so a student using the new station can work side-by-side with classmates.

The inclusive science classroom at Garfiled-Palouse High School is a promising practice because it allows students with mobility impairments to fully participate in science labs with their non-disabled peers.

Additional information on purchasing accessible lab products can be found at the Barrier Free Education [3] website and in the DO-IT publication Making Science Labs Accessible to Students with Disabilities [4].

For general information on working with students with disabilities in science courses, consult Working Together: Science Teachers and Students with Disabilities [5] and/or view the video [6] by the same title. Strategies for fully including students with disabilities in science and math activities can be found in The Winning Equation: Access + Attitude = Success in Math and Science [7] publication and in the video [8] by the same title. You may also wish to consult the comprehensive resource and presentation materials Making Math, Science and Technology Instruction Accessible to Students with Disabilities A Resource for Teachers and Teacher Educators [9].

AccessSTEM [10] mingrants were funded under The Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM, Research in Disabilities Education award # HRD-0227995).