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FOSS for All

• NIMAS Information Materials for Students with DisabilitiesAudio StoriesTeacher Preparation Video Transcripts


Did you know that NIMAS files are available for FOSS grades K-8 student print materials? Maybe you’ve heard of NIMAS, but you’re unsure of what it is or how to access the files. Here’s a brief overview of the basics.

What are NIMAS files?
NIMAS is an acronym that stands for “National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard.” NIMAS files are XML-based source files that can be used to produce alternatives to standard print — braille, large print, digital, and audio books — for students who are blind or have other print disabilities.

NIMAS files are not intended for distribution as is to classrooms, schools, or districts because the xml files requires additional enhancements to make them accessible and student-ready. Typically a third party, such as American Printing House for the Blind, a regional/state conversion organization, or braille transcribers, produces the student-ready books required for classroom use.

Where can I find NIMAS files?
NIMAS files are stored in the national repository called NIMAC (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center) at www.nimac.us. The NIMAC contains all NIMAS files for a publisher's student print instructional materials. For FOSS, this includes all the FOSS Science Stories (grades K-6), the California Edition © 2007 FOSS Science Resources books (grades K-5), and the FOSS Middle School Resources books (grades 6-8). In addition, the NIMAC has NIMAS files for all FOSS student duplication masters, lab notebooks, and assessment masters from the Teacher Guides (grades K-8).

The overall purpose of NIMAS and the NIMAC is to have a consistent national standard of high-quality source files available through one central location to improve the quality and delivery of required specialized formats.

How do I search for NIMAS files?
As a teacher, you can search the NIMAC to see what files are available. To do this, simply go to www.nimac.us, click “Enter the NIMAC Repository,” and then click “Search the NIMAC.” You can search the NIMAC in a variety of ways—by title, series, author, publisher, edition, ISBN, subject, or grade level.

To retrieve the complete alphabetical listing of FOSS NIMAS files, select “Delta Education” from the drop-down menu in the publisher field and click “Search.” A search for a specific title, such as FOSS Weather and Water Resources book, yields the following result:

Title: Weather and Water Resources: Images, Data, and Readings
Identifier: 1583564322NIMAS
Author: Lawrence Hall of Science,
University of California at Berkeley
Publisher: Delta Education
State Edition: NA
Grade Level: Grade 6
ISBN: 1583564322
File Size: 83032 KB

How do I download and obtain NIMAS files?
You can obtain NIMAS files from your state or local education agency’s authorized user(s). Authorized users are those individuals designated by the state or local education agency to have access to the NIMAC database and are the only ones that can download NIMAS files in accordance with a signed Limitation of Use Agreement.

You can find out who the authorized users in your state are by visiting the following website: http://nimas.cast.org/about/resources/nimas_nimac_contacts.html. Here you will find a comprehensive list of the authorized users organized by state, as well as their telephone number and email address.

One important note: It is not mandated that every state coordinates with the NIMAC. However, states are required to provide instructional materials to blind students or those with other print disabilities in a timely manner. As of this posting, only Pennsylvania and Virginia have opted not to coordinate through the NIMAC. For the latest information, you can visit http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/monitor/nimac.html.  

The information in this posting came from the CAST NIMAS Center website. You can visit http://nimas.cast.org for more detailed information. You can also visit the NIMAC’s home page for teachers, parents, and students at http://www.nimac.us/teachers.html.


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FOSS Materials for Students with Disabilities

There are several pieces of equipment that were originally designed for the SAVI/SELPH program that can be used by students with physical disabilities using FOSS. A great deal of effort went into the selection and development of measurement tools for use by students with disabilities in the SAVI/SELPH program. The following list of equipment includes the measurement tools that were developed that are not currently a part of the FOSS kits. You can click on the name of the item to see a picture, learn more about it, and order it. You will be brought to a different page.

Beaker, 100 ml, modified

Beaker, 1000 ml, modified
Graduate, 50 ml, with float
Histogram board
Meter tape, plastic
Volume tube







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Audio Stories

The FOSS grades K-6 Science Stories books are also available as audio files on FOSSweb.com especially for students with learning disabilities and English language learners. The K-4 books are read by a fellow student, and the 5-6 books are divided into chapters and read by an adult. You can access the books from the FOSSweb homepage by clicking on your grade, choosing your module, then clicking on the Media link on the left and then choosing the Audio Stories icon.

The audio stories require the Flash Player plug-in. You can download it for free at www.adobe.com.


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Teacher Preparation Video Transcripts

FOSS has produced teacher preparation videos for all K-6 modules and four of the Middle School courses. These videos help teachers prepare to teach the module and include teacher guide information, safety precautions, set up procedures, and classroom footage. Transcripts of each video are available on the individual video page as well as on the table of available videos.



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