Louis Braille developed a system of reading and writing for the blind that is still used today! Use these activities to help your students learn more about this innovative educator and his impact.
When Louis Braille was a young child, he became blind in both eyes.
This event was the start of the development of the system of reading, braille, which is still prominent today. This system has become known as an important invention that has changed people’s lives for the better. As your students learn about Louis Braille’s life and braille, use the following activities to analyze the man and his invention.
Students do research on Louis Braille’s life, especially the time period in which he was developing the system of braille. They identify important events and create a timeline that has short descriptions of the events along with their own illustrations.
This activity will require students to learn about Louis Braille as well as judge which events were important in the development of braille.
Have your students develop a biography of Louis Braille’s childhood. Your students can explore how he became blind and how blindness changed his life and education. Your students can choose how they’d like to present their findings. They might create a picture book, a poster, or a short skit for their classmates. As your students share their research, have other students take notes on the presentations. They can respond to the presentations by sharing what new information they learned and what they felt was the most successful part of the presentation.
Braille’s Diary Entry
Have your students imagine that they are Louis Braille, and choose a time period to write a fictional diary entry from Braille’s perspective. They might write an entry before braille was developed, in which Louis Braille is discussing why the system is necessary. Or they might write an entry from after the system was developed, as Braille tries to convince other people to use the system. As an extension, you might have students write multiple entries from other points in Braille’s life.
The System of Braille
Use these activities to help your students learn about the reading and writing system of braille.
Writing in Braille
Pass out a list of the letter-to-braille correspondence. Have your students use this list to write in braille.
To do this, have your students use a piece of card stock and a dull pencil or stylus to create the raised dots. Depending on their skill and interest, they might write a sentence or a whole paragraph. When your students are done, they should switch with another student and decode their partner’s writing. Afterwards, have your students discuss the process with questions like the following:
Explain to students that the system of braille had a huge impact on people’s lives. In small groups, have your students discuss some of the impacts that braille had.
They can do additional research to learn about the impacts of braille. Afterwards, have groups discuss what they think was the biggest impact. They should choose one impact and develop a list of reasons that support their claim. Then, conduct a debate session with your students. Have two groups compete against each other, making their claim and supporting it with their justifications. The rest of the class should vote on which group was most convincing.