Uploaded by WAStSchBlnd on 17.08.2012

Hi I'm Dr. Greg Williams with Independence Science. I am blind and also have a PhD in computational
chemistry. We are here at the Washington State School for the Blind and in this video we
will be discussing how to safely organize and set up a laboratory bench for students
who are blind or have low vision. Traditionally in the science classroom students
who are blind or have low vision have been delegated the role of passive observer or
group secretary. However, we believe that in order for the students to succeed in the
sciences it is important that they have a hands on learning experience. This leads to
greater concept development and an increased interest in the presented material. As a Chinese Proverb
says "Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me, and I'll understand."
Before you begin any experiment there is an
amount of preparation which must take place. Most importantly, there must be
open lines of communication between the student, TVI and science teacher. Secondly, the students
must take the responsibility to familiarizing themselves with the lab procedures before
entering the classroom. This allows them to clear any questions with the science teacher
before the lab period begins and to also understand any adaptive techniques which must be used.
Safety is the number one concern in the science classroom. Laboratory hazards do not discriminate.
Therefore it is imperative that every student know and follow and the same laboratory safety
procedures. This begins by becoming acquantied with the layout of the classroom. Including
knowing where lab benches and other materials are located. In every science classroom there
is a safety shower and eye wash in case of chemical accidents. Every student must know
how to operate this equipment and know where to find it.
To protect you from chemical spills or burns there are certain precautions that must be
taken. A lab coat or apron should be worn to protect clothing and skin. Goggles are
used to protect your eyes and a hair tie is used to keep your hair out of the way. It
is also mandatory that there be no running or horseplay in the science lab.
There will be a basic set of equipment used to complete any science experiment. This includes
glass or plastic beakers, test tubes, graduated cylinders, ring stands, a balance, chemicals,
and clean up supplies. For the student who is blind or low vision there are a few other
essential items, a lab tray, funnels, and notched syringes for measuring, a talking
lab quest for data collection and a computer for data analysis.
It is essential that the lab bench be consistently laid out for the student each period. If working
with a lab partner the same system of organization must be used. The lab tray is used to define
the work space, to contain any spills or overflow. There should be a consistent order of positioning beakers,
test tubes, and bottles on the tray and each should be properly labeled. Place aluminum
foil underneath the balance to aide in clean up and to alert the student of any spills.
A tennis ball should be placed on top of the ring stand to provide a visual indicator and
to prevent injury. A trash can and paper towels should be located in close proximity of the
lab bench. Lastly, a computer or any other technology should be placed on a book or other
material to prevent damage from accidental spills.
At the edge of our lab bench is a sink and paper towels. Immediately to the left of the
sink are gas jets that remain off unless specifically told otherwise. Between the gas jets and the
edge of the lab bench is the ring stand. In the center of the lab bench is our lab tray
with beakers and graduated cylinders arraigned on it. This is essential work space of a lab
bench. Farther beyond the tray are funnels, notch syringes and other materials which vary
depending on the experiment. Immediately to the left of the tray is the talking Lab Quest,
which is used for data collection. Attached to our talking Lab Quest is temperature sensor.
But this will change depending on what the experiment calls for. For instance a ph sensory
or voltage meter may be required. The Lab Quest can be elevated but is designed to be
resistant to spills. To the left of the talking Lab Quest is an electronic balance with aluminum
foil underneath. And, to the far left of the lab bench, on a book, is computer; which in
our case is running a Window Eyes and loger-pro to analyze data.
This is our recommended lab bench set up, but it should be adaptive based on experimental
requirement and available space. The final and most important set of any experiment
is clean up. Washout all glassware, wipe down the lab table, and ensure that the bench is
restored to pre lab organization. Follow all safety procedures for disposing of chemicals.
Ask your teacher for specific cleanup guidelines, and verify that the bench is in proper order.
Now that you know how to properly and safely set up a lab bench, view our next video to
learn how to use adaptive techniques and technologies to conduct science experiments.
Thank you for joining Independence Science and the Washington State School for the Blind.
If you have any further questions about accessible science for the blind please email me at