Skynet Junior Scholars: From Idea to Enactment--Tales from the Trenches II Implementation with Blind and Low Vision Youth
Skynet Junior Scholars is an ambitious program that aims to:--Develop online tools that enable middle school and high school aged youth to use robotic optical and radio telescopes to do astronomy--Create an inquiry-based curriculum that promotes critical thinking and scientific habits of mind--Proactively incorporate Principles of Universal Design in all SJS development tasks to ensure access by blind/low vision and deaf/hard of hearing youth--Prepare 180 adult youth leaders from diverse backgrounds including 4-H leaders, museum educators, amateur astronomers and teachers to facilitate SJS activities in a variety of settings.In this paper we describe the work of staff and volunteers at the Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired who have implemented SJS activities in school and camp environments, as well as ways in which they have empowered their students to take on leadership roles. Students from the Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired planned and co-hosted a Magic of Astronomy (Harry Potter Themed) star party that incorporated topics learned as part of the SJS program; filters, exposure time, locating objects in the sky, as well as, how to make an image request from the Skynet network. Their experiences in successfully doing active astronomy will provide insight into how anyone can engage everyone in programs like Skynet Junior Scholars.Skynet Junior Scholars is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers 1223687, 1223235 and 1223345.
Beasley, J., Fahlberg, T., Hoette, V. L., Mekeel, T., Meredith, K., Williamson, K., … Skynet Robotic Telescope Network, U. of N. C. (2016). Skynet Junior Scholars: From Idea to Enactment--Tales from the Trenches II Implementation with Blind and Low Vision