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Reach Out Astronomy - July 11-16

The Sidewalk Astronomers' Reach Out Astronomy project encourages us to do things a little differently. Try reaching out to shut-ins, senior centers, veteran centers, or facilities for special needs persons. With our resources for sight impaired individuals there is a lot of opportunity. This might be the one program that you won't need a scope for. Be creative and try to reach a different audience then we usually get on the sidewalk. Reach Out Astronomy will be held the week of July 11-16th.
Write up your activities and share ideas for sight impaired, special needs, wheelchair bound individuals and those with austism.    

BA Sidewalk Astronomers Tactile Planets

"Teaching Astronomy to Students with Visual Impairments" Great Resources

Space Vision 2004 - More great ideas

Disablility Support - fixed point eyepeices

Nasa Paper Models of Orbiters

Reach Out Astronomy - by Peggy Walker

Sidewalk Astronomers invites you to “Reach Out” of your comfort zone and take your outreach to people with disabilities.  We want to encourage amateur astronomers to make a paradigm shift in how you conduct outreach by going to shut-ins, schools for blind, deaf, special needs students and adults.  If you start now, you can develop some tactile hands on exhibits that not only will be great for blind, but special needs, autistic other children who learn from visual and tactile experiences.  Some simple ideas are at a senior center of veterans hospital where you can do a special presentation, talk or workshop on countless topics.  You could simply read Dr. Seuss’ book “There’s No Place Like Space”, or other books at a children’s hospital. 


I have personally made over 60 various hands on exhibits or tactile activities for people with disabilities.  For those with access to 3-D printing check out NASAs lunar surface printing files at  https://3dprint.com/10099/nasa-3d-printable-models/ In fact a 3-d printable model of the moon is available from Amelia Ortiz Gil from the Valencia Planetarium in Spain just for the asking. In addition, for those with planetariums/theatre/large screen classrooms, there is also 3-D printable Sky in your Hands session of constellations.  The 3-D printable files are sent to you -please contact Amelia at amelia.ortiz@uv.es and tell them Peggy Walker sent you!   Granted not everyone would have the ability or funds to replicate these so I have added some things I have made but then again, I love art and am pretty creative.  So I hope these ideas get you thinking …. because you will change up your outreach and reputation in your community as becoming accessible and inclusive and that is always a good thing.


1. Make an itty bitty radio telescope and add a sun funnel to it for visually impaired individuals.  But most people do enjoy this special telescope because you can hear the sun and that shocks most people.   For plans go to:               nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/download- view.cfm?Doc_ID=347


download the rest of Peggy's article

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