During the Perkins Non-Visual Digital Map workshop, orientation and mobility specialists learned how to create, use and apply non-visual digital map skills. Each participant was asked to create a map and to write a short scenario on how she/he would use her/his non-visual digital map during an O&M lesson. This is the Vermont Farm map and lesson.
Farming is a way of life in this rural Vermont community. While not every student lives on a farm, students with visual impairments may have opportunities to spend time on a farm. This map was designed to help a high school student with visual impairments develop the "big picture" of the layout of the Vermont Farm.
- To download SAS Graphics on his computer (SAS Graphics Accelerator for Google Chrome)
- To open the Vermont Farm digital map on his computer
- To identify 3 streets
- To Identify 3 buildings
- To identify 3 points of interest
The goals listed above are for a high school student who has not yet independently downloaded an extension and gleaned information from simple user guides. This student's goals are broken down into smaller tasks. As always, provide opportunities for the student to be as independent as possible; if a student needs subtle help, try sharing written directions instead of coaching him step-by-step. If absolutely necessary, observe and coach as necessary while he installs the Google extension and as he explores the map using the keyboard commands.
These activities can be done in person or remotely. For a tech savvy student, simply send the SAS Graphics Accelerator link, the Vermont Farm link, and SAS Graphics Accelerator Guide link. High school students should be able to independently install Google extensions (in this case, SAS Graphics Accelerator), open the desired map and explore the map using the keyboard commands. The student can apply the keyboard commands described in the SAS Graphics Accelerator Guide to find the objective answers: identify 3 streets, 3 buildings and 3 points of interest.
The first objects are straight forward - the answers are given "facts" as the student explores the map. The expanded objectives are designed for the student to take the general information gleaned for the map's data points and draw conclusions and then apply the information for O&M purposes. While students continue to learn and memorize facts, 21st century students are expected to draw conclusions from facts, including conclusions gleaned from information provided in maps. Let's start by building a mental map of the Farm and then draw conclusions (which may be educated guesses!) from these map data points.
Describe the roads.
- Are the roads straight, curved, east-west, north-south, diagonal or ?
- What shape do the main roads make?
What are the farm boundaries?
- This is tricky with this farm, as the exact boundaries are not listed, so make an educated guess!
- Is Grandma's house on the farm? Explain why you think yes or no.
- Where is the main farm house in relationship to the roads? rest of the farm? other two homes?
Describe the spatial relationships of the main buildings. Is there a cluster of buildings? Why?
- Hint: Use "+" to zoom in on the main buildings. Use "-" to zoom back out.
Draw conclusions: Is the farm on level ground? Explain your answer. If there are lower areas, where would they be and why? Where is a higher elevation?
- Note: O&M students should know that water collects in lower areas and flows down hill, so typically creaks, streams, ponds, lakes, oceans are lower elevations or are the lowest area in the near vicinity.
See Remote O&M Instruction for Students Transitioning to College: Building a Mental Map post for details on how to introduce non-visual digital maps to students who are visually impaired, including how to draw conclusions from the data points on the map.
Fun Facts about this Vermont Farm!
After using the map to learn about this Vermont Farm, my curiosity was sparked and I wanted to know more about the farm itself - how old is the farm, how many acres, what kinds of crops, etc. The owner of the farm graciously shared more details! I bet your student has questions too!
After your student has drawn his/her conclusions about this farm, then share these fun facts:
- How big is the Farm? The farm is 55 acres.
- What crop(s) are in the in North Field? T he North Field rotates crops (corn last year and grass this year).
- What crops are the other fields? The Farm is mostly hay crops now. From 1980s to 2004, the fields were half hay and half corn, but when the cows were sold, there was no need to continue growing corn. Now we grow and sell hay.
- What is Peanut Hill? It is more hay fields. My kids named this field when they were little!
- If you have animals, what kind and approximately how many? We had 500 head of cows in 1990 and sold the lot in 2004 when my father-in-law retired. We now have 20 minute horses an ddonkeys to keep some of the fields from growing into weeds.
- History of the Farm: The Farm was bought by a family member in 1919.
- When was the first house built? The Main house was built in 1860! That's where we live now. It's been renovated a few times and we gutted it in 2010 and renovated it before my husband and I moved in.
- What about the other houses? The house across the street does not belong to us, but the 3rd house is owned rented out by the Farm.
- Why is Grandma's house away from the other buildings? That's actually considered close by! Grandma's house is at hte eastern limit of our property and is a one story house, perfect for an 82 year old person living alone.
- The Farm has been in the family for 4 generations (spanning over a 100 years from 1919 - 2020).
- A round bale of hay weighs about 1,000 pounds.
- A square bale of hay weighs about 40 pounds.
- We once had a dwarf minature horse (very small and cute) on the farm but someone bought it and trained it for horse therapy in hospitals.
- Miniature horses live about 30 years.
- The Farm has been in the family for 4 generations (spanning over a 100 years 1919-2020)