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Accessible Activities

The SSERVI team has worked with a student who is blind to modify existing resources with suggested adaptations for accessibility.

  • Scale and Distance

To illustrate the distance between objects in space – such as the Sun and Earth for the following activities:


    • Ring or jingle a small bell to indicate the location of one body as the student is walking away or toward

    • Use yarn or string to connect the planetary bodies – have students hold on to the string as they walk from one to the next
    • Have students call out their planet names, and their placement … talk it out as working through the activity!
    • If possible, pair a sighted student with a student who is non-sighted or visually impaired to communicate and discuss the activity as they work through it together
  • How does the Moon eclipse the Sun?
    • Use a hair dryer to represent the Sun – a small ~3” foam ball on a stick can represent the Moon.  The student’s head represents the Earth, with their nose as the center of the US.  Have the student orbit the Earth at a slight angle.  While doing so, gently blow cool air from the hair dryer toward the student’s face – when the moon ball passes in front of the Earth (student’s nose) they will in effect experience an eclipse by as the ball eclipses the wind from the hair dryer.
  • Moon Flip Book
    • Flip Book from the Lunar and Planetary Institute | PDF
    • Glue construction paper or some other material to the moon shapes on the card for the student to feel/observe as they flip through the phases
  • Oreo activities 
    • No major suggestions, just Enjoy!
  • Ultraviolet Beads
    • Activity from NASA |
    • If visually impaired or blind students have trouble understanding the color changing UV beads, the instructor can compare the beads to skin.  UV light effects skin pigment.  The more UV radiation there is, the darker the skin can become.  This is a concept that visually impaired/blind students are likely familiar with.
    • Have students talk about sunburn, which is caused by too much UV radiation on unprotected skin.  This is a sensation that the students have likely felt.  Discuss how the change in skin color (the burn) is similar to the way the beads change color.  Some students with sight might have also seen/experienced their skin tanning, which is a result of the same process.
    • Talk about how the UV bead in the sunscreen does not change color, just like how sunscreen protects skin from getting burnt.
    • The rest of the activity should not need adapting.  The UV detectors should make a sound when exposed to UV radiation.
  • Sun Dials
    • Sun Dial from NASA | PDF
    • Mark student’s shadow locations and changes over time with a Wikistix or some other tactile material that will stay in place for a few hours

For a more detailed set of suggested adaptations, please see: 

Space Science is for Everyone:  Creating and Using Accessible Resources in Educational Settings - Lessons from the Field (2008) NP-2008-04-512-HQ

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