ALGEBRA, PATTERNS & FUNCTIONS
By: Carmen Willings
Algebra is about finding the unknown or it is about putting real life problems into equations and then solving them. In teaching algebra, there are some adaptations that will allow students who are blind or visually impaired to access the concepts and skills.
Algebra includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. With all math skills, it is ideal to start instructing the student using three dimensional and real objects. For younger students and those with learning disabilities, this is especially true. It is ideal to use a variety of real materials/objects related to the current area of study to teach algebra, patterns and functions. Students can use these same objects and materials to sort, classify, or order by defined attribute. Once the student has mastered the concept, it is important to quickly transition to 2 dimensional, raised line representations as this is what the students will encounter in textbooks as well as tests. If using an abacus to solve algebraic equations, it can be helpful to use two abacuses. However, when student's solve algebraic equations, it is important to have students who are blind to use the Nemeth code verses the abacus as it is difficult to recall all the steps and not lose your place when using the abacus.
The Audio Graphing Calculator (AGC), provides the functionality of handheld scientific calculators commonly used in the classroom. Operating on a flexible Windows platform and augmented with audio and tactile feedback, the AGC provides an alternative for people who cannot effectively use a handheld calculator, or those seeking a more interactive interface. The AGC is accessible to anyone who can use a computer, regardless of ability, allowing the user to concentrate on math, not on learning the tools to access it.
Fractional Parts of Whole is a set from APH that introduce the concepts of wholes, halves, thirds, and fourths. The set consists of tactile circles that introduce the concepts of wholes, halves, thirds, and fourth.
Hands-On Equations is a supplementary program that can be used with any math curriculum to provide students with a concrete foundation for algebra. It uses the visual and kinesthetic instructional approach developed by Dr. Henry Borenson to demystify abstract algebraic concepts. This hands-on, intuitive approach enhances student self-esteem and interest in mathematics.
The Hundreds Board from APH is a great way for students to practice patterning.
MathBuilders Unit 1: Matching, Sorting, and Patterning is a supplementary math program. It includes a teacher's guide with lesson plans.
The Graphic Aid for Mathematics allows the student to construct geometric and other figures and graphs related to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Students can create figures and then take a picture of their work to turn in. Students can use embroidery thread yarn, ribbon, or electrical wire to provide various textures.
MathTrax is an educational technology tool that demonstrates the combined capabilities of the MDE library modules. Its primary audience is middle and high school students studying algebra, pre-calculus and calculus and in particular it serves blind and vision impaired (BVI) math students. MathTrax fulfills an educational need to demonstrate the relationship between math and real world science applications by translating and demonstrating math relationships in a tangible physical medium on a standard PC platform.
Students can create graphs by entering an equation, selecting an equation from a drop-down menu, entering raw data to be analyzed or activating a physics simulation. MathTrax graphs the equations and provides descriptions of those graphs using text and sound. The curves currently described are first and second order equations in two variables, i.e., line, parabola, ellipse, hyperbola, circle, null set, single point, and two lines. The dynamic text descriptions and sonification make the graphs accessible to blind students who do not use pencil, paper or written graphs to study mathematics. The text descriptions can be read by Java-capable screen readers such as Jaws for Windows, or can be input to speech synthesizing software to create self-voicing applications. MathTrax provides color and line settings for traditional "drawn" graphs to aid users with differing vision-impairments.
The Math Window® Braille Algebra Add-On kit contains letters of the alphabet for variable use, as well as the higher math symbols used in algebraic computations. When added to the Braille Basic kit, the student will have the moveable Nemeth tiles necessary to complete problems in Pre Algebra, Algebra I, and Algebra II.
Sight Enhancement Systems, Ottawa, Canada, offers next generation SciPlus scientific calculators designed specifically for persons who are visually impaired. These new models improve on the popular SciPlus family, incorporating a larger, 4-line backlit graphical LCD display with inverted white/black function and adjustable contrast. The SciPlus-2200 version is the “non-speaking” model, and the SciPlus-2300 has English/Spanish (selectable) audio output, with additional languages coming soon.
$4.99 Talking Scientific Calculator is a comprehensive calculator app that is designed for a wide range of users, it features colorful buttons, high contrast, VoiceOver support, and the option to use speech for answers, buttons names and formulas.
Students in middle school following the standard course of study will need to use a scientific calculator. The Orion TI-36X Talking Scientific Calculator, available from APH, has identical functions to the Texas Instruments TI-36X calculator.
Large print/Large display calculators are available for students with low vision through various vendors. These calculators are sometimes paired with speech output. When selecting a calculator, remember the students need to first gain an understanding of numbers and how to perform operations, older students will be required to use calculators as they enter middle school and perform complex operations.
Sign up for free membership to access the FREE downloadable templates, handbooks and handouts on the Printables page. Simply click on the Log In | Register link in the navigation bar. If you haven't joined yet, you will be prompted to create a password.
TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings