TADA! Activity 1 Beginner - Intro to Tactile Graphics

This adventure introduces tactile graphics and art, emphasizing hands-on learning and creativity while introducing the idea of using technology to create tactile graphics. It aims to develop motor skills, spatial awareness, and appreciation for accessible art.

Setup - Activity 1

This activity can be broken down into several elements for lesson planning.


  • Learn how to create tactile graphics using a Draftsman Tactile Drawing Board.
  • Develop foundational motor skills required for holding paper and stylus.
  • Recognize and understand basic shapes and line types.
  • Begin to develop spatial skills and tactile exploration skills through hands-on activities.

Materials Needed

Alternative Materials

Ideas for Carrying Out This Activity

  • Push-into planned art activities
  • Collaborate with the art teacher
  • Ask parents to help facilitate activities at home to allow the student access to further exploration and practice

Adventure Map: Activity 1

Teaching tip: Provide sufficient time for the student to explore, develop skills, and have fun at each step! Encouraging creativity and personal preferences for drawing as much as possible. Some students may be able to accomplish each step in one session; most students will need several sessions to complete the adventure.

1. Introduction

  • Ask your student: What is your favorite graphic? Use guiding questions to get your student to think about graphics, including aspects they may not have thought about before.
    • Why is it your favorite? What is your favorite part about it?
    • How do you think it was created? What would you use to recreate it? How would you make it better?
  • Discuss the importance of graphics and how graphics can be used to communicate information.
  • Show the students a Draftsman Tactile Drawing Board and briefly explain its purpose.
  • Share examples of tactile graphics (e.g., simple shapes, or objects) and discuss how they can be helpful.
  • Mention that today, they will have the opportunity to create their own tactile graphics

2. Exploring Tactile Graphics

  • Provide your student with a tactile graphic (e.g., a simple shape or object) and let them explore it by touch. Ask them to describe what they feel and what they think the graphic represents.
  • Ask the student if there is a picture of something they have wanted to explore as a tactile graphic.
  • Offer a 3D manipulative and the related tactile graphic to explore the different representations in 3D and 2D

3. Creating Tactile Graphics - Replication

  • Introduce a variety sketching techniques:
  • Demonstrate how to use the Draftsman Tactile Drawing Board to create basic shapes (e.g., square, circle, triangle, rectangle).
  • Have the students choose one of the tactile graphics examples they explored earlier and try to replicate it on their Draftsman boards.
  • Provide guidance and support as needed, emphasizing the importance of pen pressure on the paper, staying in contact with the drawing and suggest pen movement/ drawing techniques depicted in the drawing example videos (contour/ straight ahead drawing vs. sketched lines using small movements).
  • Allow students to use available tools to assist as needed (e.g., cut out shapes to trace, stencils, ruler).

4. Creating Tactile Graphics - Original Artwork

  • Now, introduce the concept of creating their own original tactile graphics.
  • Encourage students to think of a simple object or scene they'd like to draw (e.g., a flower, a house, a smiley face).
  • Help the student identify the geometric shapes that could be used to create their object or scene.
  • Provide them with the materials and guide them through the process of creating their own tactile graphic.

5. Sharing and Discussion

  • Have each student share their replicated and original tactile graphics.
  • Encourage them to describe what they've created and explain their thought process.
  • Discuss how technology can assist in creating tactile graphics. How can technology help in recreating your drawing? What about if you wanted to change something about your drawing?

6. Conclusion

  • Summarize the key points of the adventure.
  • Emphasize the importance of tactile graphics and art and how technology can enhance the experience.
  • Encourage students to continue exploring tactile graphics both in and out of the classroom, and especially during recreational and leisure activities.