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Use of measurement tools

It is critical to teach students about the availability and appropriate use of tools of measurement. Ideally, students should be exposed to a broad range of tools, including those which are not specifically produced for use by blind persons but can be modified, if necessary, in a cost effective, “low-tech” manner. Mainstream, unadapted tools should be used whenever possible, since they will ultimately be the least expensive and easiest to obtain; but certainly students should be aware of all that is available so they can make informed choices in the future.

Instruction should include background information regarding purpose of the tool, where or how to purchase it, and approximate cost. Specific instruction on proper use of the tool should be followed by multiple opportunities to use it in a functional application, either in the direct solution of mathematics problems or in activities of daily living.

Tools for various types of measurement

Following is a list of examples of tools which are either manufactured specifically for use by visually impaired people, or modified through easy, non-technical means.


  1. Braille rulers (variety of sizes and materials)
  2. Braille measuring tape,
  3. click ruler (3’, audible click every 1/16”)
  4. Micrometer Caliber (6”, accurate to 100 mm)
  5. Tape measure with notches at each inch, staples at each foot


  1. Battery operated level indicator
  2. Long handled metal spoon, handle bent at 90 degrees to form dipper
  3. Standard syringe with notches cut into handle and stop at end of plunger (farm supply store)
  4. Standard plastic measuring containers with overflow holes punched out at certain levels


  1. Braille scales, for weighing up to 2 pounds
  2. Talking scales, for weighing up to 10 pounds
  3. Balance scale with trays and tactile needle, for weighing liquids and small objects


  1. Braille thermometer, for liquids
  2. Talking thermometer, for liquids, air, and body


  1. Braille clocks and watches
  2. Talking clocks and watches

Activities for teaching measurement

All of these instruments and activities will afford blind students the opportunity to interact with the physical environment with an emphasis on the study of mathematics.