Meeting 6 of the Inclusive Science Education Group

The inclusive science group is made of interested educators from all phases and sectors who have an interest in teaching students who have additional support needs or special educational needs. It is organised by Rob Butler from the ASE and Jane Essex (ASE and RSC member) who both have an interest in this area of science education. Membership of this group is open to anyone, and attendance at the meetings is optional. Notes taken during the discussion will be shared with the whole group. You can join by filling in the form at

Meeting 6th December 2021

Focus – Follow-up from previous meetings

The notes don’t identify the contributions from members of the group unless they specifically request to be identified.

In the previous meeting we had discussed leaners with visual impairments. Following this meeting, Jane had been sent a resource produced by the technology technician at the University of Strathclyde (who supports trainee teachers of technology) had produced the tactile relief model. 

This was created in wood as a trial but they do have the ability to produce in more hard wearing plastics or to produce 3D printed resources. Jane thought these resources could benefit our neurodiverse learners who could benefit from a multisensory approach. Jane made an offer to members of the inclusive science group – if any of the group would like to try this approach with learners, please email Jane and she will pass on to her technician.

Laura Gray shared an article about tactile resources:

Another resource shared by one of the attendees was the “Audio Universe Tour of the Solar System” which the organisation was using in its planetarium. This is free to access and makes the Solar system accessible to a wider range of learners (maybe beyond the original intended audience of visually impaired learners)

The Glasgow Science Centre have had input into a similar initiative in the past which was very popular

Jane shared a technique that came from Bob Worley where charcoal can be used to remove a fragrance (we tend to think of it as a way of removing the colour)

Microscale chemistry

Following on the theme of microscale chemistry, Jane announced that she had been successful in her bid for funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry. For schools without technician support, this could involve sending out resources and experiment instructions to use with learners with SEND/Additional support needs. For schools with technician support this may be sending instructions for schools to make up their own sets of equipment.

The money came from the Inclusion and diversity fund

We chose the microscale chemistry because it is cheaper than traditional chemistry experiments with full sized equipment, it uses smaller quantities of chemicals (so is greener and safer too) and it reduces the cognitive demands of the practical work. Jane mentioned work she has done observing learners with additional support needs, who were much more concerned about the health and safety risks. 

Jane shared evaluation questions and participants gave feedback.

Jane shared the ACE spelling dictionary which is her favourite resource and allows learners to look up a word by knowing how it is pronounced rather than how it might be written (the sounds are used to look up the correct spelling)

Topics for future meetings

  • Literacy in science teaching
  • Lab design (and equipment) 
  • Investigative science
  • Impactful experiments/practical work
  • Kitchen chemistry (and those with low practical requirements)

Links from the chat

Dave Paterson integrated instructions

Salters Science club resources

The slow practical

Slow practical – rates of reaction


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.