In this video, Michael Stultz provides an informal science lesson about a natural phenomenon known as ball lightning. You will predict and then identify examples of depiction within the video text.  

Developed by Mark Halley

Competency: Depiction in ASL

Time: 30 minutes

Objective: To identify depiction in an ASL text.

Prediction and Preparation

You will watch a segment of Michael’s lesson on ball lightning. In the lesson, Michael first recounts his own experience witnessing ball lightning from a vehicle.


First, imagine what you think ball lightning might look like and how you would depict that in sign language.


Second, do an internet search to become familiar with ball lightning. You might search for pictures or videos to help you understand what ball lightning looks like. Before watching Michael’s lesson, predict what types of depiction he might use to describe his experience. For example, how might Michael depict the shape of the ball lightning, its movement, and his vantage point from a vehicle?

Watch the Video

The segment of the video is 1:45.  Try to identify as many examples of depiction as you can.

Check Your Work

This is the list of concepts Michael described with depiction in the text.

  • 0:28 – a storm brewing
  • 0:37 – driving a vehicle
  • 0:40 – a vehicle traveling
  • 0:43 – driving a vehicle
  • 0:46 – the sun setting
  • 0:48 – lightning striking
  • 0:49 – driving a vehicle
  • 0:50 – a hilly field of cattle
  • 0:56 – driving a vehicle
  • 0:57 – looking in the distance
  • 0:59 – an object (the ball lightning) floating in the air
  • 1:01 – driving a vehicle
  • 1:09 – the colors and of the ball lightning
  • 1:16 – driving a vehicle
  • 1:20 – an object (the ball lightning) floating across the field
  • 1:28 – the ball lightning striking a vehicle window
  • 1:29 – the electricity shooting through the car
  • 1:29 – a person feeling the lighting strike
  • 1:31 – a vehicle moving over the ground
  • 1:33 – an unscated window
  • 1:37 – a vehicle stopping to the side
  • 1:38 – an empty space
  • 1:40 – movement of the ball lightning
  • 1:43 – getting in a vehicle
  • 1:45 – driving a vehicle

Watch the Video Again

The segment of the video is 1:45.

Now that you have seen the list of concepts described with depiction, watch the video again to ensure you fully understand how Michael uses depiction to recount his experience witnessing ball lightning from a vehicle. After fully understanding Michael’s use of depiction, watch the video in slow motion and carefully copy Michael’s signing, taking note of how you produce depiction. Try doing it first at 50% speed, followed by 75% speed.  (Use the Settings icon in lower right of video to change speed.) .