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The SEE (Space Exploration Experience for the Blind and Visually Impaired) Project: An Example of Making Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Accessible. Noreen Grice, You Can Do Astronomy LLC Dennis Dawson, Western Connecticut State University Vivian Hoette, Yerkes Observatory

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The SEE (Space Exploration Experience for the Blind and Visually Impaired) Project:

An Example of Making Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Accessible

Noreen Grice, You Can Do Astronomy LLC

Dennis Dawson, Western Connecticut State University

Vivian Hoette, Yerkes Observatory

Mark Riccobono, National Federation of the Blind

Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, DePaul NASA Center

Ben Wentworth, Tactile Learning Adventures

Michaela Winchatz, DePaul University

Lindy Walton, Madison Metropolitan School District

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The SEE Project was funded by a

multi-year NASA IDEAS grant.

Principal Investigator: Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, DePaul NASA Center

Co-Investigator: Noreen Grice, You Can Do Astronomy LLC

see project goals
SEE Project goals:
  • Develop and test Braille/tactile inquiry-based, hands-on science activities and programs that “actively” engage blind and visually impaired students.
  • Explore how tactile images can be used with the sighted public at observatory open nights.
swell form machine
Swell Form Machine
  • Tactile images were designed on computer, photocopied on micro-capsule paper, and run through a swell form machine.
testing tactile images at western connecticut state university planetarium observatory
Testing tactile images at Western Connecticut State University Planetarium & Observatory
wcsu planetarium
WCSU Planetarium
  • Sighted visitors touched tactile images of star patterns during planetarium shows and and completed a survey.
wcsu observatory
WCSU Observatory
  • Sighted visitors touched tactile images while viewing objects through the telescope. They completed a survey about their experience.
see project yerkes summer programs
SEE Project: Yerkes Summer Programs
  • Blind and visually impaired students researched astronomical topics with educators and scientists.
  • The students operated telescopes to capture data

(using JAWS and Zoom Text

accessibility software).

  • They presented their research to the Williams

Bay Lions Club.

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Mark Riccobono

(National Federation of the Blind)

“There is currently a great discrepancy between educational practices that needlessly limit blind students and their actual potential to function well in scientific fields.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute established the National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS) with a centralized clearinghouse of information and resources related to the blind and STEM.”

http://www.blindscience.org

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And now…..a sample of the

SEE Project activities for you to try…!

tactile star wheels
Tactile Star Wheels
  • This simple planisphere is a tactile star wheel and tactile star wheel holder.
  • Each star pattern has a corresponding number to a code sheet. (There is not enough room for Braille words near the star patterns)
tracking sunspots
Tracking Sunspots
  • Using 13 images of the Sun, students track the progression of sunspots from their coordinates,
  • determine the daily movement of each sunspot,
  • and calculate the sun’s average rate of rotation.
investigating variable stars
Investigating Variable Stars
  • Students interpolate the magnitude of a tactile variable star over 12 nights,
  • graph the star’s light curve,
  • and determine the period of the star.
the phases of the moon
The Phases of the Moon
  • Students arrange tactile moon phase cards in a sequence that makes sense,
  • identify the names of the moon phases,
  • and learn where the moon is at each phase.
simulating the phases of the moon
Simulating The Phases of the Moon
  • Make a tactile moon ball, find some jingle bells, and three students can simulate the phases of the moon!
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Additional materials are available for download on the

Project SEE homepage:

http://analyzer.depaul.edu/SEE_Project

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