UDL 3.1

Realia is incorporating real life representations such as objects into the classroom and learning environment to enhance the student's knowledge about the topic and/or concept. Using realia in the classroom provides the student with a visual and tactile model of the object. These concrete objects help the student to explore the lesson theme as well as make connections with prior knowledge and grade level content.

Implementation Tips

Realia can be used to introduce topics or a unit of study.
Explicit Practice
Have the realia be specific to the topic the students are learning. Be sure that the real objects enhance the objectives of the lesson. Ensure that the items can be handled by the students and educate them on the appropriate handling of the objects.
Reference Guide
Realia can be set up as a learning module and/or station. Have a guide for students to help them explore the objects.
Students Can Use Realia as Part of their Work
Have students tie realia into creative projects (e.g. state report, book reports, class presentations).


Social Studies
When studying the western expansion and the Oregon Trail, have realia of natural resources (e.g. fur, gold, wheat, wood, fruit) available as part of discussion of the impact of natural resources on economic development.
When writing a story about family heritage, have students bring in a photograph of their grandparents and or other memorabilia that the students may have to describe what it was like for their grandparents growing up.
While studying fish, students have a fish aquarium in the classroom with some of the fish species that the students are studying. Students can explore the movement, habitat, the body of the fish and conservation.

Related Strategies