Teaching energy in living systems to a blind student in an inclusive classroom environment†
This study aimed to identify the needs of a 10th grade congenitally blind student in an inclusive chemistry classroom and design and develop tactile materials to teach the ‘energy in living systems’ topic with particular emphasis on covering the symbolic language of the chemistry. A single case study design was used to carry out an in-depth and thorough investigation. The student's needs were identified through classroom observations and interviews. Based on the needs identified, 2D and 3D tactile instructional materials were designed and developed to cover the topic. Interview and observation data suggested that following the instructions the student developed an understanding of the concepts regarding the energy in living systems together with the symbolic representations used in chemistry. He showed an understanding of molecular structures when he was asked to recognize the 3D models of the molecular structures. He was able to recognize all of the structures and could respond to questions regarding the parts of these molecular structures. Although the results are limited to one congenitally blind student, there is evidence that a blind student can learn complex molecular structures if he/she was provided with materials which suit his/her needs. The results also suggest evidence of how to produce low cost instructional materials for a blind student in chemistry.