Tactile Doodle

Identifying and Using Tools

Students who are blind learn about hand tools.


To introduce students who are blind or visually impaired to the structure and function of a variety of hand tools

Background Information

A variety of tools are used in technology and engineering activities. These include measuring tools, holding devices, hand tools, as well as portable electric and machine tools.


Always wear safety goggles when using tools. Also wear work gloves. Always work with supervision.


Students with a visual impairment may not have had a chance to observe someone using tools or to try out some of the tools used in creating projects in a technology/engineering class. An opportunity to have a pre-teaching experience with the equipment would be valuable. With instruction, practice and adaptations a person with a visual impairment can use almost any tool.


  1. Examine a variety of screw drivers. Note the differences in the size of the handles and the lengths of the shaft. Notice the difference between a Phillips Head Screw driver and a standard slotted head screw driver. Examine both standard screws and Phillips head screws. Use both types of screws to join parts of an item.
  2. Inspect both slip joint and needle nose pliers. Open a small jar top with the slip joint pliers. Squeeze a small metal ring with the needle nose pliers.
  3. Use open ended, combination and adjustable wrenches for loosing and tightening bolts of various sizes
  4. Examine a variety of hammers including claw, ball-peen, and tack hammers. Use the claw hammer to drive in a nail, and the claw part to remove a nail. A nail holder will save finger tips and thumbs! Try the Ball-peen hammer to shape some metal and the tack hammer for setting some tacks. Try out a rubber mallet to assemble a project such as inserting a leg into a chair.
  5. Use a C- clamp to attach a piece of wood to a work bench. Notice the shape of the clamp; it looks like the print letter C. Carefully examine a hand saw. Notice its “teeth”. Use the hand saw to make a cut in the piece of wood.
  6. Use a power brad nailer to join two pieces of wood.
  7. Use a power drill to drill a hole in a piece of wood.
  8. Use a talking tape measure to measure pieces of wood accurately.
  9. Use some of these tools to make a bird house or other basic construction project.

NGSS Standards:

PS2.A: Forces and Motion

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems


Introduction to Technology, 3rd Edition. 2005, Chapter 3, pages 83- 92.

tools collage

By Kate Fraser

Return to Accessible Science main page.

Student fingers on the Monarch. APH's photo.

Making math more accessible: Monarch’s Word processor

Cartoon caterpillar on a half eaten leaf reading a book.

Butterflies part 1: Caterpillars

Monarch multiline braille display

Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos