Accessibility Lessons

This summer I had the opportunity to work with the Carleton University Disability Research Group to help translate some of their amazing research into activities for the classroom.  We have put together a selection of activities that are of different lengths for a variety of classroom subjects, for both the elementary and secondary panel.

We are currently seeking teachers who would like to try out some of the activities in their classrooms. We’re looking for feedback on the activities, in order to ensure that they’re effective and, well, awesome. If you’re interested, please fill out the form by clicking on this link or completing the form at the bottom of this page.

Here’s an overview of the activities (elementary activities follow):

Secondary School Activities

Activity

Overview

Curriculum Connection

Introduction: What is Accessibility? Class discussions and an introductory activity help students to learn what accessibility is all about. Social studies, science, health, historical thinking
A: Exploring Accessible Tasks & Objects Students consider the accessibility features of objects from daily life, including coins. Students learn the 7 Principles of Universal Design and then use them as criteria to evaluate objects. Social studies, design, science (ergonomic design), observation & examination, critical thinking
B: The History of the Wheelchair Students use the Historical Thinking concepts of Continuity & Change and Historical Perspective to look at the history of the wheelchair in Canada through photographs. Historical thinking, visual thinking, science, social studies
C: Advocacy & Innovation: The Talking ATM Students investigate the steps required to utilize an ATM and then do a card activity to determine the  most significant events in the history of the talking ATM. Students will consider what is required for technology to be accessible to a variety of users. Social studies, historical thinking, systems & processes
D: Accessible School This activity introduces the idea of accessibility features in buildings and allows students to take an inventory in their own school building. The activity includes the creation of a checklist for accessibility, which encourages students to consider different perspectives. Social studies, design, math

 

Elementary School Activities

Activity Overview Curriculum Connection
Introduction: What is Accessibility? Class discussions and an introductory activity help students to learn what accessibility is.  
A: Exploring Accessible Tasks & Objects Students consider the accessibility features of objects from daily life, including coins. Students brainstorm ways to increase the accessibility of certain tasks. Social studies, science (ergonomic design), observation & examination, critical thinking
B: Accessible School Students work together to create a checklist for accessibility in schools. They then use this checklist to investigate the level of accessibility of their own school. Languages; mathematics; planning, organizing & recording.
C: Perspectives on Structures Students will identify the different aspects of building design. Using their list of design considerations, students will determine the significance of each design element, using various perspectives. Science, differing perspectives, structures & mechanisms, languages.
D: Pulley and Gears Design Challenge Students design a device that increases accessibility for those who are unable to walk, using a pulley and gear system. Students create a poster advertising their device. Science, structures & mechanisms, pulleys & gears, design, planning, languages,
E: Structures and Mechanisms Design Challenge Students design and build a mechanical system that makes an everyday task easier for a given population, or for the population at large. Students create a poster advertising their device.

 

Science, structures & mechanisms, pulleys & gears, design, planning, languages, systems in action

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