Students with visual impairments benefit from the purposeful teaching of representational concepts, such as directional arrows used to indicate movement, direction, change, and cause-and-effect. In The Importance of Arrows in Science, science teacher Kate Fraser explores ways to explain the concept and role of arrows in educational material.
Hello, I'm Kate Fraser, a science teacher at the Perkins School for the Blind. Today we're going to talk about the importance of arrows in science.
We see arrows everywhere. We see them on a one-way street, we see them indicating us to turn left, we see them in textbooks indicating direction, we them in the chemical formulas for a yield sign.
However, if you're visually impaired, you may have never seen an arrow.
So, we find it very important to directly teach about arrows, including the structure of the arrow.
We talk about the arrow having a shaft and a point. You'll notice that the arrow has three points, and we need to directly teach that this is the point that's indicating in the direction where the motion or the activity is happening; the direction in which the chemical reaction is moving from reactant to product.
In this textbook, they have a number of arrows.
In this particular textbook, there's a graph that also has arrows indicating information about this particular graph.
When we directly teach about arrows, we also may use different sized arrows to indicate different sizes of forces and different lengths of arrows to indicate different lengths that the movement may be traveling, often corresponding to what is happening in a particular diagram.
In this diagram, it's indicating the steps in a process, and there are both long and short arrows.
In this particular picture, this one indicates a pull and shows the person in the picture pulling with a rake, and we would demonstrate to the student the direction of the movement. Show them with an arrow, probably of course have them do this particular activity.
In this particular picture, the young man is pushing a wheelbarrow, and we would actually indicate the direction of the push, as well as have the student do the actual activity, so they can pair the idea that the arrow is symbolic of the movement.
There are also curved arrows in many science diagrams, and this particular curved arrow could indicate a cycle and the direction of the cycle.
And that's today's teachable moment about arrows.