Signing Glossaries for use in informal STEM Learning Environments

The Signing Glossaries project researched and developed six separate signing glossaries to provide visitors ages 5-12+ who are deaf or hard of hearing access to STEM vocabulary during visits to aquariums, botanical gardens, natural history museums, nature centers, science museums, and zoos.

The glossaries are lists of science terms, definitions, and illustrations. Terms can be accessed from an alphabetical list, from a category list, and using a search feature. Definition pages include the term and its definition in English, and icons for listening to the term and its definition, seeing a 3D avatar character sign, and viewing an illustration.

The glossaries are available as Web versions here. They work well on phones and tablets using a Web browser.


The words of a parent who used the glossaries during visits is a testament to the value they add to the experience:

“We are most impressed at the versatility of the glossaries. Our daughter loves visiting all of these places, but we often avoided them because we were unsure what value they’d have without the rich explanations we were able to give to our boys, who are both hearings. The glossaries enriched not only her experience but ours as well by helping us to feel more connected to her during visits. Sometimes as a hearing parent of a child who is deaf, you feel ill-equipped to provide your child with the best educational support. This is particularly true when it comes to science and math. Our experiences have all been positive, regardless of the type of museum we are visiting.”