Arts & Humanities
Learn about Louis Brailles system for the blind. Use an online Braille translator.
blind, Louis Braille, translator, Braille alphabet, braille
Ask students if they have heard of Louis Braille or the braille system. Write down the information they share. Students will likely know that braille is a system that helps blind people read. Each letter (as well as numbers and marks of punctuation) are represented by a series of raised dots. Every letter, number, and symbol is represented by a different combination of six dots.
Next, pass out to each student a copy of this braille card and a copy of this Story of Louis Braille work sheet. Challenge students to learn more about Braille by using the braille card to translate the words in braille type into text.
Extend the Lesson
You can extend this lesson by using one or more of the activities below.
My Name in Braille. Have each student translate his or her name into braille. Students can use the braille card to help them do that. They might create a braille nameplate by gluing split peas onto heavy stock paper. Alternative: Use those colorful old-fashioned sugary candy dots (also called candy buttons), the kind that come stuck to strips of paper.
Braille Riddles. On a large sheet of drawing paper students can write or type a favorite riddle (one they think their classmates may not know). Then they will use split peas or candy buttons (see above activity) to present the answer to the riddle in braille. Their classmates will have fun trying to figure out answers to the riddles. Adapt the activity for younger students: younger students might use this online Braille translator to translate the riddle response. Then they can print out the response (use the Large" setting) and paste peas or candy over the appropriate dots.
Braille Bios. Share more information about the life of Louis Braille by reading aloud one of these biographies.
More Blind Bios. The famous people listed below were either blind or suffered from vision impairment. You might assign each student to learn more about one of these people. Ask students to report on what they learn about the person and about how blindness impacted his or her life.
Andrea Bocelli - (born September 22, 1958) opera singer
Dr. Jacob Bolotin - (1888-1924) First blind doctor
Ray Charles - (September 23, 1930-June 10, 2004) American pianist and musician
Jose Feliciano (born 1945) American singer
Thomas Gore (December 10, 1870-March 16, 1949) American senator
Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author, activist, and lecturer
David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) New York governor
Marla Runyan (born January 4, 1969) marathon runner
James Thurber (December 8, 1894-November 2, 1961) American cartoonist
Erik Weihenmayer (born September 23, 1968) mountain climber
Stevie Wonder (born May 13, 1950) American singer-songwriter
Others who became visually impaired:
W.C. Handy (1873-1958) Blues composer - went blind in middle age
Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564-January 8, 1642) Astronomer
Claude Monet (November 14, 1840-December 5, 1926) French painter
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882-April 12, 1945) American president
Harriet Tubman (c.1820-March 10, 1913) American slave and slave freer
Assess students based on effort put into deciphering the Louis Braille work sheet.
Lesson Plan Source
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
GRADES K - 4
NSS-USH.K-4.1 Living and Working together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago
NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12 All Eras
GRADES K - 12
NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
NT.K-12.2 Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
NT.K-12.3 Technology Productivity Tools
NT.K-12.4 Technology Communications Tools
NT.K-12.5 Technology Research Tools
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