KC Empower: Universal Access to After School STEM

Monday, November 23, 2015
Resource Type:
Research Case Study | Research | Research Products | Reference Materials | Report
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Games, Simulations, and Interactives, Public Programs, Afterschool Programs
Parents/Caregivers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Adults | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Education and learning science | General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
People with Disabilities
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Education Development Center

The overall purpose of the Kinetic City (KC) Empower project was to examine how informal science activities can be made accessible for students with disabilities. The premise of this project was that all students, including those with disabilities, are interested in and capable of engaging in science learning experiences, if these experiences are accessible to them. Drawing on resources from Kinetic City, a large collection of science experiments, games, and projects developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the project researched and adapted five after school science activities guided by universal design for learning principles. The activities chosen represented different activity genres: a computer-based activity, a kinesthetic activity, a set of two hands-on activities, a writing activity, and a drawing activity. The KC Empower project was carried out in three major phases. In Phase 1, we conducted research with students with disabilities to examine what access barriers students experience as they engage with the original five Kinetic City activities. In Phase 2, the activities were revised based on information gathered through the initial research and input from a national advisory board. Table 1 (pages 5 and 6, below) summarizes the revisions that were made in the activities. In Phase 3, we tested the adapted activities to examine if the changes were successful in improving the accessibility of the activities for students with a range of different disabilities. The focus in this project was on students in grades 3–12 with physical, sensory, cognitive, and developmental disabilities. This report summarizes the research that was conducted as part of this project.

Award Number: 

Team Members

Bob HirshonBob HirshonPrincipal Investigator
Laureen SummersLaureen SummersCo-Principal Investigator
Babette MoellerBabette MoellerEvaluator
Wendy MartinWendy MartinEvaluator

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