Louis Braille was born on
4th January, 1809 near Paris, France. At three years of age an accident
deprived him of his sight, and in 1819 he was sent to the Paris Blind School.
Here he made rapid progress in all his studies. He learned to read by
embossed Roman letter, which was exclusively used at the time.
revised M. Charles Barbier's character to two from 12 dots and thus produced
his well-known 3 by 2. On this basis Braille was the first person to devise
a practical scheme for printing and writing in tangible form, suitable
to the tactile capacity of blind people in 1829.
It is sometimes difficult for
young students to realize what it is like to not have all their senses.
This activity helps them to understand how it changes their life if one
sense is not working. If your eyes or the nerves to your brain are
damaged you can become blind. If your ear drum is broken, you may
not be able to hear clearly. If the cells of your nose or your tongue
is damaged you will have difficulty smelling and tasting. If there
is something wrong with the nervous system, you might not be able to touch
something and feel it.
- The objective
of this activity is to make students aware of which senses they are using,
determine what sense organs are (eyes, skin) and how they might cope if
a sense is missing.
- Lead the children in
answering these questions:
- What do you use to
see with? (eyes)
- How many do you have?
- Do you need both of
them to see?
- Is there any difference
in what you see with two eyes compared to what you see with one? (You cannot tell distance easily with only one eye. You must use
- What do you feel with? (skin)
- How do your senses of touching
and seeing help protect you? (You won't bump into things).
- Pair the children off.
Have them shut one eye and stick out their forefinger like they
were pointing. Let them try to touch their partnerís forefinger.
They will probably have trouble because they have no depth perception
with one eye closed.
- Again in pairs, have
them roll a ball gently from one person to the other, trying to catch it
with one eye closed.
- Have each child try
to touch his/her own two forefingers together with one eye closed.
One finger will probably pass in front of the other.
- Take children on a blind
walk. (This is best done by one adult while another adult stays inside
with the remaining children). Split the children into small groups--no
more than 10 per group. Take children outside. Pair them off.
One partner is to be "blind" (close his eyes) and one is to be his helper,
always holding one hand.
NOTE: Stress safety!!!
The helper is to warn his partner if he/she is about to run into
something. Both must walk slowly and carefully.
Lead the children on a short
walk in a safe area. Have the "blind" children feel textures on
the walls, sidewalks, fences, and other objects. Ask them if they
know where they are and which direction they walked. If they
do know, ask them how they know. (If it is because they have the
area memorized, tell them that this is what blind people do also). Change
partners and walk again.
- Back in the classroom,
ask them how they felt and how successful they were at getting around.
Explain that blind people develop better senses of touching and hearing
than most people because they have to replace their sight.
- Show students the BRAILLE
PLACEMATS. Have them practice feeling the different letters.
See if they can pick out the letters in the words. This will take
patience. You may want to do this over a week's time. Have
the students determine how long it will take to learn just one letter.
- Use the worksheet and
have students put little bits of clay, or have them glue down lentils (a
bean) to make their own Braille placemat.