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Activity and strategy

Telescope Training Board

Make your own Telescope Training Board for students with low vision, who are learning to use monocular telescopes. These boards can help to train them in the use of the device.

A monocular telescope is an optical device designed to help people with low vision to view things at a distance.  When we first put a telescope into a child’s hands, we want not only for them to take ownership of the device, but we want them to have fun learning to use it. 

This board is the creation of Toni Prahl from the Smokey Powell Assistive Technology Center in Georgia and I am sharing it with you now with her permission.

  • White Foam Board
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Graphic Art Tape
  • Discs, Buttons, etc. (I used wooden discs from the craft store)
  • Velcro
  • Stickers

Step One:

  • Measure the foam board in half, then cut down on side of the board without going through to the other side with either scissors or an exacto knife. Then, fold the board in half.

Foam board folded in half  Board is folded in half.

Step Two:

  • Measure the board into fifths by drawing a line with your pencil. Mine was not exact.

Board measured into fifths

Step Three:

  • Place Graphic Art Tape down over each pencil line you drew. I used thicker tape on one side and thinner tape on the other.

Graphic Art Tape on pencil line


  • I also added a diagonal line on the left side of the board connecting each horizontal line.

Diagonal lines with Graphic Art Tape

Step Four:

  • Add Velcro to both sides. I add Velcro to the left and right sides of each horizontal graphic art tape line. I also add Velcro without lines on the back. I eye balled mine, but you may want to measure them out and leave yourself pencil dots to know where to place the Velcro.

Velcro dots on foam board

Step Five:

  • Add stickers to your discs (I used wooden discs I found at the craft store) and add Velcro to the back of each. Also, make sure you have stickers that are big enough to fit the discs. You want them to be small enough that the Low Vision student cannot see what they are at a distance, but big enough for them to see them with their telescope.

Stickers added to discs  Velcro on the back of discs

Step Six:

  • Place the Velcro discs on your board!

Velcro discs on board  Velcro discs on board  


Velcro discs on board

Tips for using this board for telescope training:

Skills learned: Focusing, spotting, scanning and tracking with monocular telescope.

  1. Start with the side with thicker graphic art tape and the connecting diagonal lines. Then, move to the thinner graphic art tape line with no connecting lines, then move to the back with no lines. 
  2. I like to have simple color discs to start with. You can use these in the beginning, so that the child is successful right away. They don’t have to be perfectly focused to be able to identify the color.
  3. Then move to more complex images, I use stickers of food, animals, insects, characters, etc. Anything you can find.
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