In physics education, a growing trend is to not only address IEPs, but use them as a catapult for all students: If IEP adaptations help some students learn then why shouldn’t they be available to all students? As such, a growing number of IEP accommodations are incorporated into physics classes themselves.
IEP adaptations available
Present concepts with analogies
Use color-coded diagrams and notes. Each color has a specific meaning. Very useful in physics diagrams
Use more step-by-step diagrams
Use animations to illustrate principles of physics
Use animations from PhysicsClassroom.com
Use interactive apps from PhET (Physics Education Technology)
Place all of the above onto a single website for each student access.
Increase demonstrations, to attract attention and inspire the students. Give students manipulatives, so that their exploration of the object connects theory with practice.
Hands-on labs so students can directly feel physics phenomenon.
Provides opportunity for learning through discovery – this is naturally occurring in all hands-on science laboratory experiments.
Make expectations and instructions as clear as possible. Go over each project with step-by-step instructions; photocopy the list of instructions and hand it out to each student. Templates to facilitate easier writing of lab reports.
When introducing a new topic, look for opportunities to connect the new topic to an old topic. I have rewritten the physics curriculum to study physics in a historical context. This is more productive than simply telling students the results.
Alternative resources : We use Physics: Principles and Problems, yet will supplement it with resources from many different books and teachers.
Old textbooks were heavy on reading and rote memorization. Our new text has a variety of ways to help students learn:
1. Decrease amount of text, as compared to older textbooks
2. Increase the amount of colorful diagrams and illustrations
3. Describe step-by-step strategies for problem solving
4. Increase the number of fully solved problems, showing one idea at a time how to solve problems.
5. Provide historical and literary connections, so that students see the connections between this particular subject, and the other subjects that they study.
Here are some accommodations which are not for every student in the class, but rather for the students with an IEP or 504:
A. Test in an alternative setting
B. Repeat and clarify directions
C. Extended time for tests and for projects.
D. Have a smaller number of questions, so that they can focus on the core issues.
E. Access to a copy of my own notes, so that they can concentrate on listening and observing.
F. Larger projects are sometimes broken up into a series of smaller projects.
G. Clarify directions for classwork, homework, or projects.