We can all be Scientists: Empowering Individuals with Disabilities to Become Citizen Scientists

Zachary Sanford, Exceptional Children, William A. Hough High

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


This focus of this unit is to teach students with intellectual disabilities about urban streams and the plant and animal life that depend on the water, what the presence of the specific life means to health of the stream, and how to assess the health of the stream through chemical tests, and plant and animal assays. This unit will provide a completed adapted chapter and worksheets. The unit will begin with an introduction to water as a habitat in general and the water around us specifically. The students will explore streams, conduct chemical tests, and report the data. The students will also learn about the influence of human activity on stream health. The second lesson will focus on the plant life around waterways. The students will learn about the basics of plants, the different types of plants, and plant survival needs. The students will then use guidebooks to explore the plants around the streams. The final lesson will cover the animal and protist life around streams. The students will learn about invertebrates and microorganisms in general and will learn about the aquatic organisms that inhabit streams. The lessons will involve the use of different guidebooks and data collection sheets. The students will learn what the presence or absence of specific organisms means for the health of the stream. Finally, the students will understand the interactions between human activity, water pollution, and the effects of pollution on plant, animal, and protist life. The lessons will involve hands-on experiences as well as adapted assessments and worksheets.