[nobe-l] Integrating Braille with our Apollo 11 Project

Tina Hansen th404 at comcast.net
Thu Feb 14 05:26:42 UTC 2019

Some of you know that I'm working with a small team on a project around the
anniversary of Apollo 11 for my state's BELL program.


We hope to recount the story and do 3 experiments: one comparing the size of
the earth to the moon with balls, another showing craters  on the moon with
rocks and moon sand, and another where the students drop or catch objects in
their hands to see how they fall in our gravity. We also hope to show a
short video where the astronauts on one of the missions drop objects in
lunar gravity so the students see what happened in the gravity of the moon.


My team and I are looking for ideas on how to integrate Braille into our
lesson creatively. We don't want to just have the students read our
narrative round-robbin, since that would make it too much like school.
Besides, I wouldn't be surprised if they do that at other times during the


We also don't want to give them a handout to take home, because chances are
good that they'll throw it away when they walk out the door.


I'd hate to just give them a worksheet, since that also would be too much
like school. These students get worksheets all the time, and we want to keep
the lesson fun and engaging.


Our age range is 4-12, but we don't know the exact age, nor do we know how
many students we'll have. We do know that our program is scheduled for
August 5-16, and it's a day-only program, so the students will live either
at home or somewhere in the host city, but they won't be in a dormitory


One expert gave me an idea that could work. We have a 3-d model of the
rocket used to launch the mission, and we're looking for models of the
command and lunar modules.


We thought we'd use the Pen Friend or some other audio labeler unit to
identify the parts on the model itself. However, if we do Braille labels on
the model, we'll have a clutter problem. An expert suggested that if one of
our team members were able to get a good photo of the rocket or other
modules, we could draw it tactually, then use a key to notate and identify
important parts. The key would be on swell  form paper, or even on regular
Braille paper, but the alphabetical or numerical notations would be on the
tactile drawing. This works, since our theme this year is tactile graphics.


We thought about simply passing around the Louis Braille coin, but I'm not
sure that's good enough.


One other idea for integrating Braille into the lesson would be to have them
write out answers to questions we ask them, but I'm not sure we'll be able
to do that with the time we have. We have up to 20 minutes for each of the
experiments, 5 minutes for an opening, 15 minutes for them to look at
models, and 10 minutes for the story. We'll tell the story in short pieces,
with one of our experiments or our time to look at props between story
segments. We only have an hour and a half maximum for the whole thing.


We also recognize that writing out answers may work for older students, but
would be more difficult with really young students. While I'm not ruling it
out, I do recognize that younger students may struggle with it.


Do any of you have other creative ideas of other ways to get Braille into
this lesson that don't involve round-robbin reading or handouts? Thanks.

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