- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Rose and Ben, the two main characters in Wonderstruck,are both deaf. Learn more about deafness with this hands-on demonstration.
What it teaches: The five senses, the human body
What you need: Microphone, paper plate
What to do:
- Discuss how Rose and Ben, the two main characters in Wonderstruck, are both deaf—Rose was born deaf and Ben becomes deaf after an accident. How does being deaf change the way the characters interact with each other and the world?
- Next, talk about the scientific causes of deafness—conducive and neural hearing loss. Conducive hearing loss happens when something is blocking the sound vibrations coming in the ear, such as fluid or calcium deposits. Neural hearing loss happens when the auditory nerve in your inner ear fails to deliver information to the brain.
- Demonstrate the hearing process by snapping your fingers into a microphone. Talk about how snapping causes vibrations in the air that register on the microphone (which represents your auditory nerve). Next, illustrate conducive hearing loss by holding a paper plate between your fingers and the microphone and speaking into the microphone. How does the sound registered by the microphone change? Finally, demonstrate neural hearing loss by turning off the microphone completely. Does the snapping register at all?
- Explain that oftentimes people experience a mixture of conducive and neural hearing loss. If desired, encourage children to research the different types of hearing loss experienced by people who are born deaf, such as Rose, and those who become deaf later in life, such as Ben. Children might also explore how the other senses, such as sight, smell, and taste, develop in the absence of hearing.
Dec 06, 2011