Workshop a la carte
Title: Tactual Universe
- Instructor: Ms. Harumi Fujiwara (NPO Harmony Ai, *Member of Japanese Society for Education and Popularization of Astronomy)
- Summary: By using tactile materials such as astrophotography and websites, students are introduced to astronomy and natural science. Each of us is a part of the universe. When we study astronomy, we notice that each of our being is connected with stars and the universe and cannot be separated from them. The joy of knowing, studying, understanding, and feeling the universe, should be a universal heritage. What is more, the year 2009 is "The International Year of Astronomy”.
- Lesson1: “Let's touch the world of stars!” Students feel tactile materials such as “Tactile Astrophotography” created by a group led by Masayuki Nakamura, and “10 billion years in Cosmos / Tactile Gravures” written by Mariko Kato (KOSEISHA KOSEIKAKU Co). Then they discuss the lifetime of stars, the connection between stars and we the creatures on the earth.
- Lesson2: “Transformation of the solar system” Students touch planetary models and discuss our solar system and the definition of a planet. They may be ready to be introduced to some topics of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
- Lesson3: “Let’s get information about the universe” Students visit websites offering information about research and observation on astronomy, and find that the information is not limited to visual images. Also they learn about the cosmic research and observation by using various invisible electromagnetic waves, such as radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, or gamma ray, providing successful outcomes.
- Requirement: None (Internet Experience is preferable although not necessary)
Title: Hand-Craft: Let's Create a Motor
- Instructors: Mr. Fukashi Kawane, Mr. Toshihiko Komada (Nihon University Junior College)
- Summary: All trains or electric cars run on electric motors using electric/magnetic power. In this class each student makes a motor from daily materials, so that they learn the fundamental characteristics of electricity and magnetism, and learn how a motor generates power.
- Lesson 1: Students learn the fundamental characteristics of electricity/magnetism and the mechanism of a motor.
- Lesson 2: Each student prepares the parts of a motor, recognizing that the coiled wire becomes magnetized to be an electromagnet when electric current flows through it, and that its magnetic poles switch when the current flow is reversed.
- Lesson 3: Students finally put together motors and activate them. They observe motors spin faster when the magnets get closer to them, examining how to spin them even faster.
- Requirement: No special skill is required.
- Capacity: 5
Title: Touch and Solve Rubik's Cubes
- Instructor: Mr. Mitsushi Fujimoto (Fukuoka University of Education)
- Summary: Mathematics can be a key to solve a Rubik's Cube. In this workshop students complete Rubik's Cubes by using Gap, a formula manipulation software. A 2×2×2 cube is distributed to each student instead of a normal 3×3×3 cube, for a normal one could take too much time to be solved. The faces of the cube are made to be distinguished from each other by attached different tactile stickers.
- Lesson 1: Students assign a number to each face of their cubes. By using the numbers, they make a computer calculate the all possible combinations of lines of a Rubik's Cube. Then they observe that an already completed cube can be completed again by repeating a certain series of moves. Gap shows how many moves are needed to do so.
- Lesson 2: Students learn how to solve scrambled cubes by using mathematical solution offered by Gap. Then they get one face matched without being given any hint. Then they are introduced to “the three steps to solution” shown on the Braille handouts.
- Lesson 3: Students practice the three steps and try to complete their Rubik's Cubes for themselves. If needed, they can get help from assistant volunteers.
- Requirement: No special skill is required. Students can experience Gap operation when they are familiar with operating a computer by using a screen reader.
- Capacity: 8
Title: Explore Polyhedrons
- Instructors: Mr. Tomoya Uchida, Ms. Yoshiko Seiwa, Mr. Akiyoshi Takamura (National School for the Blind, University of Tsukuba)
- Summary: We have various polyhedrons around us. Many of the students may have learned about the cube or triangular prisms at school. What point do they pay attention to when they observe those solid figures? I guess they focus on the shape of faces, the number of faces, and how the faces are connected with each other. In this class, students construct regular solids with toy blocks, starting with cubes. By touching solid figures and observing the number of vertices and edges, they explore their distinctive features. We hope they discover some hidden characteristics of polyhedrons with us in this class.
- Lesson 1: Students construct regular solids with JOVO blocks. They feel them carefully and examine their features.
- Lesson 2: Students organize what they have found in Lesson 1 to discover some hidden characteristics.
- Lesson 3: Students make other polyhedrons and search them to see if the characteristics they have found in Lesson 2 can be applied to them as well.
- Requirement: Basic finger manipulation. Basic four rules of arithmetic.
- Capacity: 4~5
Title: The Potential of Braille in Mathematical Expressions
- Instructor: Mr. Hitoshi Tanaka (Graduate School of Mathematical Science, the University of Tokyo)
- Summary: I am a mathematician, and I think that math is a language. Languages are written in letters. Math is written in formulae. I’d like to discuss with students Braille as a language of the visually disabled, and its potentials to be a useful means in mathematics.
- Lesson 1: Students reaffirm that Braille has only 64 characters. If they read Braille, it means they have already recognized the differences among them. It is truly amazing that only 64 characters enable the visually disabled to read a book! Here, students also reaffirm how Japanese Braille is shaped by looking at the Braille chart.
- Lesson 2: Students observe by touching how numbers, fractions, or parentheses are written in ordinary characters, and learn how sighted people calculate. Then they discuss how to calculate by using those symbols written in Braille.
- Lesson 3: Computers enable the visual disabled to write fractions. Students are introduced to a formula composition software, TeX, and learn that translating math formulate into Braille and converting them into TeX characters are derived from the same idea. Most formulae can be expressed in TeX, which means they can be expressed in Braille as well. This is what we call “the potential of Braille in mathematical expressions.”
- Requirement: Basic computer experience with screen reader.
- Capacity: 3
Title: Mathematics Lab - Let's learn math on PC with speach output!
- Instructor: Mr. Katsuhito Yamaguchi (Nihon University Junior College)
- Summary: Students are introduced to InftyReader, a mathematical OCR software, and a math document editor for the visually disabled, ChattyInfty. With these devices, they learn how to turn an ink printed math handout into speech, and how to produce ink printed answer paper with math formulae on their own. Then, by using tactile graphics, they observe how charts, graphs, or formulae are expressed in ink printed documents, learning some tips for smooth communication with their sighted classmates on math topics.
- Lesson 1: InftyReader and ChattyInfty are introduced to students.
- Lesson 2: Students practice using ChattyInfty and learn the basic way of inputting. Then they actually enter some formulae from a textbook, producing their own answer paper related to the unit they have learned recently.
- Lesson 3: Students start up InftyReader from ChattyInfty and scan their math handouts or textbooks to be vocally output. Also they learn ink printed math expressions by using the tactile graphics on the materials they have just made recognized by OCR, and other tactile graphs or charts created by ViewPlus Braille Printer.
- Requirement: Computer experience.
- Capacity: 5
Title: Drawing Tactile Graphics with Computers
- Instructors: Mr. Kazunori Minatani (Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo), Mr. Mamoru Fujiyoshi, Ms. Akiko Ohsawa (National Center for University Entrance Examinations)
- Summary: Students are introduced to Bplot, a drawing system to create tactile graphics for computer users with visual disability. Each student is guided and supported by an instructor, so that they can learn according to their interest.
- Lesson 1: A lecture is given about the tactile graphic system, Bplot, and a frame of reference for drawing.
- Lesson 2: Students practice creating drawing commands on the computer. (By using text editor)
- Lesson 3: Students practice
- 1) drawing some basic figures (lines, boxes, arrows, and tubes)
- 2) creating a frame of reference and drawing parabolas and curves of trigonometric function
- 3) drawing whatever they like
- Requirement: Computer experience with a keyboard
- Capacity: 3
Title: Play Game with Dot View
- Instructor: Mr. Toru Ishida (National Vocational Rehabilitation Center)
- Summary: Dot View is a device that recognizes the screen of a computer and represents it graphically. Figure recognition is essentially required in science and math majors. In this class, it is intended that students enhance it by playing games.
- Lesson 1: Students are introduced to Dot View, and learn how to turn it on and how to operate it by playing “ClickGame.”
- Lesson 2: Students learn to recognize figures in motion. They practice touching moving figures by playing “BallGame.”
- Lesson 3: Students try a game on the computer, “FreeCell”, included in Windows. They practice identifying each playing card, picking up a card to move, and moving the card to another position.
- Requirement: No special skill is required.
- Capacity: 3
Title: Let's enjoy UNIX world!
- Instructor: Mr. Koichi Inoue (Ricoh Co.)
- Summary: UNIX is an OS having been used as an Internet Server even before Windows came out, and is still popular among computer technicians. Its unique features lie in character input operation, combination of tools by using pipelines, and concurrent access by multiple users. In this class, students actually try out these features of Linux, and practice using the computer somewhat different from Windows.
- Lesson 1: (Introduction to UNIX) First, students review Windows operation. Then they learn how to input into command prompt by executing easy commands, observing each reaction. Next students log into a computer with Linux by using telnet and exercise basic commands such as “Cat”, “cd”, “ls”, and “cp”, learning how to identify file names by using wild-card characters, and how the structure of pipelines connected with “wc” is. Also they learn how to run basic programs like four arithmetic operations provided by “bc” and conversion of units by “units”.
- Lesson 2: (UNIX and the Internet) Students find some members on the same computer by using “who” command. Next they exert “write” command to exchange messages, then “mail” command to exchange emails with each other. Also they learn how to send emails to other computers via the Internet, and understand the structure of an email address used on the Internet by actually sending and receiving emails.
- Lesson 3: Students learn how to find solutions from manuals.
- They first practice using the manual of basic line editor “ed”. They prepare a program to convert text data into audio, and learn that the sound can be changed by editing input data.
- They next use the manual of Reverse Polish Notation calculator “dc” to find how to write the commands for four arithmetic operations.
- Requirement: Good proficiency in keyboard input. Experience of editing documents, and sending/receiving emails on Windows. PC operation skill to perform screen magnification and vocal output for oneself.
- Capacity: 3
Delivery Lectures in Science
Title: Take Your Time to Touch and Examine Specimens
- Instructor: Ms. Yoko Takei (National School for the Blind, University of Tsukuba)
- Summary: “Listen to bones!” This class offers students an opportunity to examine dog skulls. They imagine and discuss in a group the pictures of the dogs when they were alive by examining the characteristics of their bone shapes. The focuses of the observation are; the shape of head, dental appearance, eye size and eye location, the shape of nostrils, the direction of the hole connected to the neck, the size of the space behind ears, the position of the cheekbones, and the size of the space of the brain.
Title: Easy-to-Understand Science Lab for the Visually Disabled
- Instructor: Ms. Shizuko Hamada (National School for the Blind, University of Tsukuba)
- Lab 1: “Feel the volume change of a gas with your fingertips.”
- Lab 2: “Ignite hydrogen by yourself. (hydrogen explosion)”
- Lab 3: “Let’s make a battery.”
- Lab 4: “Let’s observe the direction of light.”