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# Graphing with APH Graphic Aid in Science

## Guidelines to make science and math graphs accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired

Comprehending graphs during science instruction is often difficult for students with visual impairment.  This is partly because the graph is often only partially visible on a magnification device (low vision students) or partially experienced tactually (blind students) whereas sighted students are able to glean information from the entire graph in a glance.

Therefore, braille students should be taught to read graphs in a manner that is quite different from the manner in which braille is read.  They must be taught to quickly get an overview of the entire graph before observing the specific details.  See Analyzing Bar and Pie Graphs for more information.

In addition to specialized instruction in reading graphs and charts, students with visual impairment will greatly benefit in their comprehension of these vital science tools by learning to draw and/or build graphs themselves.  One tool that is applicable for this purpose for both blind and low vision students is the APH graphic aid.

THIS VALUABLE TOOL IS AVAILABLE USING QUOTA FUNDS!!!

One reason that this tool is ideal is that it is available using Quota funds through APH.  As one of my students mentioned while we discussed using the APH Graphic Aid to build the Punnett square,  “Who (among TVIs) doesn’t have an APH Graphic Aid lying around?”

The APH graphic Aid consists of a cork composition board mounted with a rubber mat, which has been embossed with a grid of 1/2-inch squares. My students use two perpendicular rubber bands held down by thumbtacks for the x- and y-axes. Then, points are plotted with pushpins at the appropriate coordinates. Points are connected with rubber bands (for lines),  Sighted teachers can easily interpret the student-made graphs correctly.

The following quote from Susan Osterhaus highlights how incredibly beneficial this tool has been for her students.  My hope is that it will also be beneficial for your students.

“I REALLY want my students to graph extensively; and they can do so incredibly fast on the APH Graphic Aid for Mathematics. In fact, many of my print students insist on using it as well because it is faster, fun, and allows graphing skills to be learned in one more modality.”

The following excellent tutorials produced by the TSBVI Outreach Department  with Susan Osterhaus provide more detailed information on the use of the APH Graphic Aid.

APH Graph Board, Part 1, An Introduction:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8plj9UsJbg

APH Graph Board, Part 2, Plotting Points on the Coordinate Plant:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHBrJVzVE7s

APH Graph Board, Part 3, Graphing a Straight Line, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtRxp7O3biY

Data from Mr. Jim Clark’s class is displayed above and shown on the APH Graphic Aid below.

Time is graphed on the x-axis and distance on the y- axis.

References

Osterhaus, S.A. (2002). Susan’s math technology corner: Teaching A Blind Student How to Graph on a Coordinate Plane: No Tech, Low Tech, and High Tech Tools. Division on Visual Impairments Quarterly, 47(3), 23-26.

Many thanks to Jim Clark and Susan Osterhaus for their wisdom on the use of the APH Graphic Aid.

By Laura Hospitál