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Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired. Tactile Math Booster Presented by: Maylene Bird, Jeri Cleveland, Sue Mattson, Glenda Torrence and Patrick Van Geem AER International 2014. Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired. Refresh Your Nemeth Braille Code

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Texas school for the blind visually impaired
Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Tactile Math Booster

Presented by:

Maylene Bird, Jeri Cleveland, Sue Mattson, Glenda Torrence and Patrick Van Geem

AER International 2014

Texas school for the blind visually impaired1
Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Refresh Your Nemeth Braille Code

Maylene Bird, TVI and COMs

Glenda Torrence, TVI

Why did we do this
Why did we do this?

  • Why?

    Braille Examples:

    2+3 = ch

    2+3 = 5

    Mistakes by students, mistakes found in textbooks, commonly found errors or ones we always have to look up. It is important to preserve our Nemeth Code. It is important for our students to learn math. Math has it's own special set of symbols and can not be treated as a literary code.

Common errors and forgotten signs
Common Errors and Forgotten Signs

  • Top 3 errors noted by TVIs.

  • Symbols we often forget.

  • Miscellaneous items.

    Picture of woman pondering: "Where is the guzinto sign?"

Long division
Long Division

  • 4284 divided by 6 equals 714.

    Notes: In print this symbol is the vinculum; correctly read as: 4284 divided by 6.

Top 3 list
Top 3 List

  • Spacing: To space or not to space

  • Dot 5

  • Numeric indicator

    We will start with a list of frequently seen Nemeth Code errors.

Space before and after signs of comparison
Space before and after signs of comparison

  • 2+9 = 11

  • 3<7

  • 5>1

    We know the equal and > and < are signs of comparison. Space before and after..

Remembering and
Remembering > and <

  • How to remember < and > symbols on the Braille writer. (Print students have the alligator)

  • Greater than:

    • Right hand dots: 4, 6

    • Left hand dot: 2

  • Less than:

    • Right hand dot: 5

    • Left hand dots: 1, 3

Alligator for print
Alligator for Print

  • x is not equal to 4

  • y is less than or equal to15

  • r is greater than or equal to 25

Signs of comparison continued
Signs of Comparison Continued

A chart comparing popular male cartoon figures in the following categories: White shirt, Blue pants, Seth McFarlane, Good show.

To space or not to space signs of comparison continued
To space or not to space: Signs of Comparison continued

Note: Notice space before and after these signs of comparison congruent, approximately equal to, parallel and perpendicular.

To space or not to space signs of comparison continued1
To space or not to space: Signs of Comparison (Continued)

  • The ratio x to y.

  • x ꞉ y

  • 1 ꞉ 2 ꞉꞉ 2 ꞉ 4

    The word 'to' is spelled out, uncontracted, and not hooked to the variable 'y'. Problem 15 reads one is to 2 as 2 is to 4.

Spacing continued
Spacing Continued

  • A is a subset of B.

  • x is an element of Real numbers.

  • {x | 3 ≤ x < 10}

  • The symbol for “therefore”

    An example for 19 is: All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal.

Braces and brackets
Braces and Brackets

  • Parenthesis (7)

  • Braces {7}

  • Brackets [7]

    There is no particular significance in the use of square brackets instead of parentheses. Brackets and curly-braces are used when there are nested parentheses, as an aid to keeping track of which parentheses go with which. When working with nested parenthesis, the order will always be: parenthesis, brackets, and braces as shown: {[( )]}.

Braces and brackets1
Braces and Brackets

  • {x | -5 ≤ x < 5}

  • [-5, 5)

    Number 21 is set builder notation. Another way to represent 21 is shown in 22. The is interval Notation using bracket and parenthesis. It is also represented by the number line on the next slide.

Graphing set notation
Graphing Set Notation

Students can graph over the tic marks, but the correct way is to leave them uncovered. Caution students to at least leave the first tic mark at -5 uncovered. The full cell above the number line signifies shaded/filled in circle. Notice there are no number signs used on the line graph.

Braces and brackets2
Braces and Brackets

  • [5-(3+4)] = ?

  • {-2, 0, 2}

    Number 23 is just PEMDAS (Please excuse my dear aunt Sally

    Number 24 is another set; finite set with 3 elements.

Dot 5
Dot 5

  • Normal level of writing is on the baseline. Subscripts are below the baseline and exponents are elevated. The term superscript is used to define any letter, sign, or symbol written above the baseline.

Exponents superscripts dots 4 5
Exponents/Superscripts(dots 4, 5)

  • 90⁰+90⁰ = 180⁰

  • x²+6x+3²

  • x²+1

  • Use dot 5 when ti is followed by another symbl. Do not use if it is followed by a space.This should read: 1 over x squared equals five

Subscripts dots 5 6
Subscripts (dots 5,6)

  • H2O

  • 2H3PO4 → H4P2O7 + H2O↑ Number 30 reads: 2H3PO4 yields H4P2O4 plus H2O gas

  • (x1, y1)

    Don't use a dot 5 if a subscript indicator is not used. {X followed by a subscript a is when you do use a subscript indicator}. When you have an x subscripted by a letter then use subscript indicator.


  • The Braille Code for Chemical Notation 1997 available through the American Print House for the Blind

Exceptions to the dot 5 rule
Exceptions to the Dot 5 Rule

  • x2 , x3

  • x12 + 9

  • x12+9


  • No dot 5 is used here for the slope equation.

  • Rule: if a letter is followed by a numeric subscript then do not use dot 5.

Dot 5 continued
Dot 5 continued…

  • Dot 5 at the beginning or with a space in front of it indicates something immediately following will be modified.

The numeric indicator
The Numeric Indicator

The last of the big three.

Non use of the numeric indicator
Non use of the Numeric Indicator

  • Computation problem written in spatial arrangement do not use a number sign.

  • Problems written horizontally start with a number indicator unless preceded by …

Non use of number indicator
Non-use of Number Indicator

  • Don't use the number indicator when a number follows the opening parenthesis

Non use of number indicator1
Non-use of Number Indicator

  • No Number Indicator in front of an Opening Fraction indicator

Use of number indicator
Use of Number Indicator

  • The distance from the Earth to the Sun is about 92,955,807.

  • (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

    9, 10, 11)

    If a long number cannot fit on 1 line, begin the number on a new line or even a new page. There is a way to split a number, but it is highly discouraged. A hyphen (3, 6) is inserted after a comma and a new numeric indicator is placed at the beginning of a new line. On problem 47 the numeric indicator is not required before the 9.


The next items are to refresh your memory about other areas of mathematics and the Nemeth symbols. The photo shows 5 staff members of TSBVI dressed as beauty queen contestants. The constants represented: Mis-behave, Mis-understood, Mis-fit, Mis-apprehension, Mis-cellaneous, and Mis-do.


Infinity and beyond
Infinity and Beyond

48. No special spacing required--it follows rules in the context in which it is used. 6,250

49. The infinity symbol is a full braille cell, dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Repeating decimals
Repeating Decimals

  • Notice how a repeating decimal is written in Nemeth.

    50. Use dots (1, 5, 6) when only 1 number is repeating. 51. If more than 1 digit repeats, you must note where the repeating sequence starts with a dot 5 and use the over the top symbol and bar symbol. It ends with a termination symbol.

Tally marks
Tally Marks

  • A tally mark in Nemeth is dots 4, 5, 6. They are grouped 5 in a row with a space between groups of 5.

Square roots and radicals
Square Roots and Radicals

Problem 55 depends on the math level; if you ask for 2 square roots (plus or minus). 56. The index of the cube root is written first and then the radical (root) sign and the number under the radical (in this case the 8 which is called the radicand). Remember to terminate the radical sign after both!

Mixed numbers and complex fractions
Mixed Numbers and Complex Fractions

In problem 57 do not forget the (4, 5, 6) before closing the fraction! Note the opening fraction indicator in number 58.

Line graphs
Line Graphs

59. Notice that the tic marks are not covered by the graphing {dots (2, 3, 5, 6)}. The X dots (1, ,3, 4, 6) above the line graph signifies the unshaded circle. Remember you do not need number to labels the numbers on number line.


  • Dedicated to Dr. Abraham Nemeth

    • October 16, 1918 to October 2, 2013.


AAWB-AEVH-NBA Advisory Council to the Braille Authority (1979). The nemeth braille code for mathematics and science notation, 1972 revision. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Braille Authority of North America, (1997). Braille code for chemical notation 1997. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Craig, R.H. (1987). Learning the nemeth braille code; A manual for teachers and students. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Laudenslader, E., (1972). Braille handbook for nemeth code of braille mathematics and scientific notation. San Francisco State College.

Roberts, H., Krebs, B.M., & Taffet, B., (1978). An introduction to braille mathematics. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.

Emails and other links
Emails and Other links

  • Maylene Bird(birdm@tsbvi.edu)

  • Glenda Torrence(torrenceg@tsbvi.edu)

  • Susan's Math Page(http://www.tsbvi.edu)

  • Abacus Videos(http://www.tsbvi.edu.com/user/VideoTSBVI)

  • National Braille Association(http://www.nationalbraille.org/NBAResource/FAQs/(askanexpert)

  • Braille Authority of North America(http://www.brailleauthority.org/)

Texas school for the blind visually impaired2
Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Braille Production

Sue Mattson, Braille Transcriber/

Adapted Materials Specialist


  • "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do!" --John Wooden

Unraveling the problems
Unraveling the Problems

  • Nemeth Braille Code

    • Reference materials

  • Software issues

    • Compatibility problems

  • Math issues

    • Uncomfortable with math

The nemeth braille code
The Nemeth Braille Code

  • It isn't rocket science

    • 63 palpable braille characters (64 including the space)

    • It evolved out of rules of speech

Software issues
Software Issues

  • Understanding the multiple layers of software use

  • Knowing what programs to use and how they work together

  • Windows updates and the impact on your work

Related problems
Related Problems

  • File formats and how to handle them

    • PDFs, Word files …

  • Type of documents

    • Electronic copies, hard copies

Ms word and math type
MS Word and Math Type

  • Using Math Type with MS Word

    • An equation editor

    • Installs a tab on the Word Ribbon

    • Keyboard short cuts are easily customizable

    • Commonly used in schools

    • Not expensive


  • Create document in MS Word using the BANA Braille 2014 template or

  • On an existing document apply the BANA Braille 2014 template

  • Format using the style pane

  • Save and open in Duxbury

Math issues
Math Issues

  • Build a support system

    • Teachers

    • Transcribers

    • Online resources

Other problems
Other Problems

  • Lead Time

    • How much time do you have from receiving assignment until it is needed by student?

    • Difficult to overcome misinformation

  • Communicate with teachers


  • Graphic Embossers

    • Tigers

    • Phoenix


  • "We cannot hope that many children will learn mathematics unless we find a way to share our enjoyment and show them its beauty as well as its utility."

    --Mary Beth Ruskai, University of Waterloo

    Ontario, Canada

Texas school for the blind visually impaired3
Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Supporting Tactile Learners

Jeri Cleveland, TVI

(Curriculum Teacher, TSBVI)

Tactile learners
Tactile Learners

  • Your tactile learners do not have to be

Do your students feel like
Do Your Students Feel Like:

  • Villain: "You must read the graphic!

  • Heroine: "I can't read the graphic!"

Tips for supporting tactile learners in mathematics
Tips for Supporting Tactile Learners in Mathematics

  • Excellent posture

  • Systematic exploration

  • 3-D to 2-D (Flat Stanley)

  • Text before graphics

  • Familiar Features

Tips continued
Tips (continued)

  • Perspective and dimensionality

  • Shared language


  • Lost in Space poster, Retrieved online from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058824/

  • Villain and heroine photo, Retrieved online from http://www.carolynscottphotography.com/2012/02/29/love-derailed-lindseymarks-damsel-in-distress-engagement-session-featuring-brent-the-villain/

Tactile graphic document production

Tactile Graphic Document Production


School-based Mathematics Worksheets

  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

  • Outreach Programs

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Austin, Texas 78756

Criteria for including a tactile graphic


Criteria for Including a Tactile Graphic

  • Introduce at an early age.

  • All required information included.

  • Omitting vs Admitting diagrams.

  • Complex Diagrams (meaningful?)

  • Include if it is used to answer questions.

Planning and editing


Planning and Editing

  • More meaningful in text form?

  • What is information is conveyed?

  • Planning Components

  • Editing Content

  • What production method is used?

  • Planning Process Sheet

Object components


Object Components

  • Area (no less then .25” width/height)

  • Line (1,3, and 6 point)

  • Points (no less than .13” diameter)

  • Label (only horizontal labeling)

What is order of these elements


What is order of these elements?











Order of elements in a tactile graphic


Order of Elements in a Tactile Graphic

  • Heading, Titles, and Numbered Figures

  • Illustration Captions

  • Questions and Answer Choices

  • Transcriber’s Notes

  • Keys Content and Format Order

    • Area

    • Lines

    • Points

    • Letters

  • Placement of Tactile Graphics

  • Label Placement

  • Content information


    Content Information







    Answer Choices


    Transcriber s notes


    Transcriber’s Notes


    Transcriber’s Note Symbol (begin 7-5)



    Area Keys

    (.50” wide)

    Letter Keys

    Transcriber’s Note Symbol (end)

    Tactile graphic illustration


    Tactile Graphic Illustration


    Y-axis Content

    Axis Line

    (3-4.5 pts)


    Coordinate Line

    (1 pt)


    (.25” width)

    X-axis Content




    • Text Content

      • Follow the BANA Braille Formatting Standards

    • Transcriber’s Notes

      • Short and at students grade level.

    • Tactile Graphics

      • Follow the BANA Tactile Graphics Guidelines

    Texas school for the blind visually impaired



    • Consistency

    • Continuity

    • Standardization

    Thank you
    Thank you!

    Tactile Math Booster

    A Production of TSBVI, 2014