Numbers in the Dark (LS-DI-543)

Talking to my students, I have noticed that they know very little about the challenges that people with disabilities face every day. In order to increase their awareness about certain problems that people face, I have decided to use Europeana resources. My first idea was to try to illustrate how do people with visual impairment read. That is why I established a project that combines Mathematics and other disciplines in order to raise awareness about people with visual impairment. Students who took part in the project were 14-15 years old.

Figure 1: Students explore how to write numbers using the Braille’s alphabet.

During the Mathematics lessons when I introduce students to linear equations, I included topics about the numbers in Braille. Linear function lessons deal with numbers and the story about Braille’s alphabet. Learning about how to write numbers increased students’ motivation for Mathematics, besides increasing their awareness. 

The project had several phases. The first part of the project was implemented during the lessons of mathematics. The students’ task was to research the Braille alphabet and techniques of writing numbers. The second part was to explore the real-life application of the Braille alphabet. That was a homework task where students had to find examples of the Braille alphabet in real life.

Figure 2 and 3: Students brought medicine boxes where the text is written in Braille’s alphabet.

The third part was to apply knowledge about the Braille alphabet and to use a 3D printer to print items suitable for people with visual impairment.

Aims of the project were to:

  • increase to learn Mathematics;
  • illustrate the application of mathematical knowledge;
  • develop technical skills and mathematical modeling;
  • research about life around us; and
  • make use of a 3D printer in real life.
Figure 4: Students find in the numbers written in Braille’s alphabet in the elevator of the building.

The main goal of the project is to raise awareness about visual impairment through regular lessons and activities. The project also served to increase general awareness of people with impairment. During activities, the students had an opportunity to see that learning continues outside of school and exploring different sources to find useful information. In the exploration of the world around them, students found different examples where Braille’s alphabet is applied, like on the medicine boxes or in the building’s elevator. Important aspects of the learning process were collaborative and interdisciplinary learning by linking different subjects. What was new, and unusual for the students was, that they used a 3D printing as modern technology in everyday use and to produce useful objects. We printed a die that has numbers written in Braille’s alphabet. It was in the form of a pyramid and it was suitable for some board games.

Students printed a die with a 3D printer that has numbers written in Braille.

Students enjoyed the lesson and Europeana materials. This project helped students discover new learning since before this project, they did not pay any attention to the notes written in Braille’s alphabet around them.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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CC BY-SA 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Sörmlands museum.

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