Remember that biology class when you had to label the various parts of the frog? Or when you learned the circulatory system and had to label all the veins in the human body? Labeling diagrams is an important educational skill. Just like everything else, students are introduced to labeling early. Kindergarten students learn to trace words, cut out boxes of words, and glue them in the right places on the image.
Students who are visually impaired should also be exposed to simple tactile images and should learn the skill of how to label these images. With young students or students who are new to tactile graphics, realistic objects are initially used, then tactile images with textures, and finally raised line tactual images. It is important that young students are introduced to a variety of tactile representations in order to build solid concepts. It is also important that young students are exposed to and learn the same skills at the same time as their peers. Worksheet activities, such as this Parts of a Bat worksheet, lay the foundation for success in upper grades.
This worksheet is a commonly seen type of worksheet for kindergarten or early elementary students. The instructions are “Trace the words at the bottom. Cut out the boxes and glue on the picture to label the bat.” The bat is a very simple outline with empty boxes indicating where the labels should go. At the bottom of the page are the words for the student to trace: wing, body, head, ears, and wing.
Download the original Parts of a Bat worksheet here.
Best practice for tactile images states that arrows or lines pointing to the various parts should be eliminated. These lines add clutter and are often hard to distinguish tactually from the image itself.
This bat has been transcribed two different ways: a simple outlined bat and a bat with textures. Some students initially prefer different textures to identify each part. The textured bat has wings with wavy lines, body with dots, ears are solid, and head is an outlined circle with eyes and smiling mouth. The images below can be printed on capsule paper and run through a tactile graphics machine (PIAF or Swell Machine) to create raised line drawings.
Download the Plain Bat here.
As always, be sure to discuss the various important features of the bat with your student, including that bats fly at night and use their ears (echolocation/radar) to hear and catch bugs. Connect the tactile bat to recent bat stories read in the classroom
Download the Textured Bat here.
Just like the arrows, raised line boxes (to indicate where the student should place his/her labels) add clutter to the image, making it harder for students to distinguish different parts of the bat. However, young students often need a tactile prompt to know where to add each label. I might add a thin line (using Rainbow tape – thin, colorful masking tape) as an indicator for the student to place his/her label. The masking tape is a different texture, making it easy for the student to distinguish this line from the bat.
To adhere the braille labels, I prefer to use E-Z Dots, a scrapbooking adhesive tool. This comes in a dispenser with a roller tip. The student can roll the double-sided dots on the paper and adhere the braille label. E-Z Dots rolls tiny dots (5 wide) in a line. The dots are durable and removable – it is not sticky like glue and does not require drying time. The student can easily use E-Z Dots independently! E-Z dots on Amazon
Note: Labels adhered with E-Z Dots can be pulled off and reset. This means that the student can do the activity again and/or move his/her labels to the correct place!
Because the diagram does not have arrows or lines to the specific areas, the student does need to be taught that the labels should be placed close to the desired bat part. Determining where to place the label is important!
If desired, the student can use a crayon to draw a linen from the adhered label to the correct bat part. (Example: The “head” label may be confused with “ears” or “wings” as they are in close proximity.
Depending on your student, you can provide the labels already cut out, can ask the student to cut out provided labels, or have the student braille his/her own labels. Be sure to clip the top right corner of each braille label so that the student can orientate the braille word.
https://www.perkins.org/sites/elearning.perkinsdev1.org/files/bat%20outline.jpg https://www.perkins.org/sites/elearning.perkinsdev1.org/files/bat%20textures-1.jpg https://www.perkins.org/sites/elearning.perkinsdev1.org/files/bat%20labels_0.png
By Diane Brauner