A Coordinte Grid template with the Origin (0) in the bottom left corner and both the x and y-axis going from 0 - 6.

Digital Transitions #2: Math Grid Activities

Fun activities that teach math grid concepts and the help bridge the gap between tactile and digital formats.

“Our classrooms are becoming paperless.”  This statement is flying around classrooms but what does it mean for students with visual impairments and blindness? How can we help our students who are VIB make this digital transition, especially when it comes to math concepts?  Traditionally, math is provided in a tactual format for K-12 students who are braille readers; yet, college and STEM career materials are typically digital only.  How do we prepare our students for this digital transition – transitioning from paper materials to digital materials?  Once students understands the basic concept using tactile materials, how can we teach these academic students to apply these same foundational concepts to accessing digital math materials?

Let’s start by taking a closer look at how to traditionally teach the foundational math skill ‘grids’ and how to transition grid concepts from tactile materials to digital materials.


A Coordinte Grid template with the Origin (0) in the bottom left corner and both the x and y-axis going from 0 - 6.

Ordered pairs are typically introduced in 3rd or 4th grade and graphing equations in 4th or 5th grade.

Traditional Educational Tactile Grid Resources

APH Grid Graphic Aid for Mathematics (Framed rubber mat embossed with 34 X 30 grid of ½ inch squares

APH Advanced Desk Top Stick-On Number Lines









Additional Tactile Grid Resources

Additional crossword games

Teaching Hints

Digital Games That Include Grid Concepts

Screenshot of Fix the Factory coding app displaying a path that the robot needs to travel and arrows that player chooses to navigate the path.Many of these coding games include a “path” and players provide the commands to move left, right, up or down through squares on this path.  These games often have a grid-like layout.  Creating tactile grids with a starting point and destination and that include paths, walls, obstacles, will help develop a mental concept of these coding games.  Students have to determine how many squares to move in each direction.  Legos is a great resource to quickly recreate these type of coding games so that students can learn the basic coding concepts. 

O&M Hint: Students are already applying spatial skills, mental mapping and other ‘math’ skills daily as they travel daily O&M routes.  Be sure to connect O&M lessons with these math/grid lessons!

 Look ahead!  What higher math skills will your students need in high school, college, and in STEM fields?  Think about the graphing skills that your students will need for Algebra – lay the foundation now with grid concepts, mental mapping, and spatial concepts.  Are you building solid foundation skills now so that your student will successfully be able to use tools like a talking scientific graphing calculators? These calculators and calculator apps use spoken information paired with sonification (sounds that provide information about the graphics).   The Desmos app, is an accessible scientific graphing calculator which is now backed by Pearson, approved by the College Board, and integrated into Smarter Balance tests.  (See the Paths to Technology post, Desmos a free, accessible graphing calculator app.)  Are your students embracing these types of digital math tools?  Will your students be ready to successfully complete online math assessments?  In the comment section below, please share your ideas, activities and needs as you help your students with these digital transitions!

Be sure to check out the Halloween Sudoku Puzzles: Grids and Tables post!

Digital Transitions #1: What You Need to Know and How You Can Help!

Digital Transitions #3: Editing Tech Skills & Activities

Digital Transitions #4: Bar Charts (Fall Leaf Activity)

Teaching Positions in a Table: iOS Activity

Introducing Accessible Digital Tables


Collage of Math Grid activities

By Diane Brauner

Symbol representing a written document.

Creating Headings for a Screen Reader: Lesson Plan

Cartoon detective scratching his head and  bending over to look through a large magnifying glass to view a question mark.

Inference Activities Part 1: Hands on Activities

StellarTrek, a small handheld GPS device with 9 buttons.

StellarTrek: O&M Tool