The Deaf have often been overlooked when designing informal STEM education and public outreach activities. Astronomers at UC Riverside and teachers at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSDR), have designed an astronomy workshop aimed specifically for the Deaf using the school’s on-site sound lab. We have used astronomy for this workshop because the field has a significant edge over other sciences to act as portal for K-12 engagement in science given the imagery it presents, the answers it offers to grand questions, and its interdisciplinary nature. The workshop is an unconventional activity that excites the students and provides a positive experience in astronomy, based on knowledge that they already acquired beforehand in the classroom. Our workshop uses electromagnetic emissions, enhanced sounds and sonification processes of cosmic phenomena that have low frequencies and sufficiently distinguishable patterns which are delivered to students through a specialized designed sound lab for the Deaf. Storytelling paired with videos and images are used to give understandable meaning to the sounds of the Universe. Positive feedback was collected from over 80 students who participated in our workshop. Our activity can be reproduced elsewhere to further engage the Deaf community in science.
De Leo-Winkler, M. A., Wilson, G., Green, W., Chute, L., Henderson, E., & Mitchell, T. (2019). The Vibrating Universe: Astronomy for the Deaf. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(3), 222–230. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-018-9761-1