The Vibrating Universe: Making Astronomy Accessible to the Deaf

The Vibrating Universe: Making Astronomy Accessible to the Deaf

Scientists at UC Riverside create a workshop for students with hearing loss.

Astronomers at the University of California, Riverside, have teamed with teachers at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, or CSDR, to design an astronomy workshop for students with hearing loss that can be easily used in classrooms, museums, fairs, and other public events, the UC Riverside News reports.

The workshop uses a sound stage that allows the CSDR students to “feel” vibrations from rockets, stars, galaxies, supernovae, and even remnants of the Big Bang itself. The team has made the materials public and written up its experiences to help teachers and other educators worldwide to engage the deaf community in STEM activities.

They have worked closely with CSDR teachers before, ensuring American Sign Language, or ASL, at public astronomy events, but had never developed an activity targeted for the deaf community.

Around 360 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. In the United States, about 11 million citizens are functionally deaf or report some trouble hearing. The city of Riverside contains a large concentration of deaf students because it is home to CSDR, the only public school for the deaf in Southern California.

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