Autistic Learners Test Out NASA Astronomy Activities

Autistic Learners Test Out NASA Astronomy Activities

In late February, the New York Hall of Science hosted a free, 5-day winter camp attended by autistic middle-school learners. The 18 camp participants tested out NASA astronomy activities, curated by the NASA Neurodiversity Network (N3), as part of the N3 co-design process – a process that involves gathering input from autistic students who are engaged in NASA science education activities and using that input to improve the user experience for those activities. 

The N3 project team is led by experienced NASA educators at Sonoma State University, together with autism education specialists from the Education Development Center and informal education experts from the New York Hall of Science, and aims to provide a pathway to NASA participation and STEM employment for neurodiverse learners, with a focus on those on the autism spectrum.

"Our 5-day camp at NYSCI for autistic middle schoolers was a critically important experience for our N3 team to implement our updated museum-specific activities in an informal educational space. Students were engaged and excited to experience hands-on activities focused on light, perception, telescopes, and astronomy, and our museum education team learned valuable lessons about implementing these activities with a larger group of middle school age students. We look forward to finalizing these museum activities to share with the informal education and NASA communities based on our experiences and hope that these resources and tips will make these activities accessible for students across the country." -Dr. Ariana Riccio

Learn more about NASA's Neurodiversity Network:

(NASA Science Activation Project Team Award Number: 80NSSC21M0004)

Docents at the New York Hall of Science work with a group of students who are learning about astronomical images in multiple wavelengths of light.