AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 13. Astronomy Education
Display, Monday, June 3, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[13.13] Accessible Universe: Making Astronomy Accessible to All in the Regular Elementary Classroom

C. A. Grady (NOAO and GSFC), N. Farley, F. Avery, E. Zamboni, B. Clark, N. Geiger, M. de Angelis (Howard County, MD Public Schools), B. Woodgate (NASA's GSFC)

Astronomy is one of the most publicly accessible of the sciences, with a steady stream of new discoveries, and wide public interest. The study of exo-planetary systems is a natural extension of studies of the Solar System at the elementary and middle-school level. Such space-related topics are some of the most popular science curriculum areas at the elementary level and can serve as a springboard to other sciences, mathematics, and technology for typical student learners. Not all students are typical: 10 percent of American students are identified as having disabilities which impact their education sufficiently that they receive special education services; various estimates suggest that an additional 10 percent may have milder impairments. Most frequently these students are placed in comprehensive (mixed-ability) classrooms. Budgetary limitations for most school systems have meant that for the bulk of these children, usually those with comparatively mild learning impairments affecting their ability to access text materials and in some cases to make effective use of visual materials, individualized accommodations in the science curriculum have not been readily available. Our team, consisting of an astronomer, regular education teachers, and special educators has been piloting a suite of curriculum materials, modified activities, including use of assistive technology, age- appropriate astronomy web resources, and instructional strategies which can more effectively teach astronomy to children with disabilities in the regular education grade 3-5 classroom. This study was supported by a grant HST-EO-8474 from the STScI and funded by NASA.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: cgrady@echelle.gsfc.nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.