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Activity and strategy

Show Me Your Heart: Braille Math Activity

This hands-on activity gives students practice reading braille numbers and counting the corresponding number of items.

Here is an idea to tuck away for next Valentine’s Day….or for MY schools till just after vacation (since we had so many snow days this winter, we have gotten way behind.  We will be playing Valentines games until March! 

I am excited to try it out after break!  Have fun!


  • Small boxes (these can be shaped like hearts for Valentine’s Day or other themes for other holidays)
  • Small items to count (beans, beads, candy hearts)
  • Braillewriter
  • Manipulatives or tools for counting (e.g. abacus, EZ abacus, base ten cubes, tactile tally marks, Wikki stix)
  • Worksheet (See photo below.)
"Show me your Heart" worksheet
“Show me your Heart” worksheet
Close up of hearts
Close-up of hearts and worksheet


I bought little Valentine boxes at the dollar store and brailled numbers on them. The classroom teacher let me know to keep it in the teens-30’s. I am not sure if these little boxes would hold more than 30 countable objects.

  1. The class gets into pairs and both friends count the small items inside (beans, beads, candy hearts, etc.)
  2. The braille reader reads the number in braille on the lid and checks to see if the count is correct. (That is what we are working on now so it fits nicely for us).
  3. On the tally sheet (which I just drew by free hand), the sighted student writes the number inside the heart (braille student uses braillewriter to document number).
  4. Both students demonstrate four ways to show that number.  The braille reader has whatever manipulatives he or she uses. For example, we will use: abacus, EZ abacus, base ten cubes and tactile tally marks (made with Wikki stix).
  5. The print student writes theirs in the 4 boxes that surround the heart. They can work together, for example, both doing an array (one on paper and one on the EZ abacus) or both doing tally marks etc.  
Students doing math activity
Students doing math activity


  • If you wanted and had access to an iPad, you could have the braille student use an iPad to snap a picture of the four ways they used their tools to show the number.  
Collage of Show Me Your Heart:  Braille Math Activity
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