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Activity and strategy

Tactile Flower: Making a Bridge to Tactile Images

This simple activity for students with visual impairments or multiple disabilities helps to make the bridge from real objects to tactile images.

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In order to help my students understand tactile images, I like to invite them to explore an object and then attempt to recreate it. By exploring each of the parts individually, it’s easier for them to understand how they make up the whole.

We started off by exploring real flowers, and then in this lesson they examined an artificial flower. We discussed the parts of the flower (petals, stem, leaves) and how they fit together (e.g. the stem is at the bottom, the leaves come out of the stem).

Exploring the parts of an artificial flower
Exploring the parts of an artificial flower

Then we looked through the available materials to determine what was needed. I bought the flower petals from Oriental Trading, where they have lots of color choices to choose from. 

Materials for making tactile flowers, including petals, stem, paper, and glue gun
Materials for making tactile flowers, including petals, stem, paper, and glue gun

The student first laid out the parts of the flower, to arrange them to match the model.

Arranging the parts of the flower on the paper
Arranging the parts of the flower on the paper
Arranging the parts of the flower on the paper
Arranging the parts of the flower on the paper

We hot glued each part of the flower onto the paper, starting with the stem.  This was a slow process, as we had to wait for 5 minutes for it to cool before touching the page again.  

Comparing the model to the arrangement on the paper
Comparing the model to the arrangement on the paper
Collage of tactile flower: making a bridge to tactile images
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