

Many years ago there was a blind man named Abraham Nemeth who wanted to go to college and take math classes. He needed a way to write math problems in braille.
The literary braille code, the one we use for words, let him write numbers, but there
weren't braille characters for writing symbols we use in math like a "+" sign or
a "÷" sign nor were there characters for writing really hard math problems or ones
that had both letters and numbers in them like 4x – (7x + 5) = or ones with exponents
like 10^{2} × 12 = so he invented his own braille code. It was named after him, just
like Louis Braille had the literary code named after himself.
Braille readers use the Nemeth code when they are in math class. You've learned that in the literary braille code the numbers are written by putting a number sign
in front of the first 10 letters of the alphabet. In Nemeth code we do the same thing,
but the numbers are
"dropped". They are in the bottom part of the braille cell.






Do you know what these numbers are?






Here are some other symbols that are used in Nemeth code.






Did you notice that the "×" and "÷" each take two cells to write? With the numbers and symbols students can read and write math problems.






Here are some math problems. Once you "decode" them, that is figure out what they say, click here to see if you have them correct.
Braille readers, rightclick here to download brailleready files of the same math problems.






Writing More Advanced Math Problems



Abraham Nemeth wanted to do more than write simple math problems. He wanted to be able to use braille
to write problems in algebra, geometry, and even calculus! So, he had to take the 6
dots in the braille cell and find many creative ways to use them so everything
mathematical could be put in braille. This is one reason why he put the numbers
in the bottom of the braille cell. This way a braille reader would not confuse
the letter "a"
with the literary braille number "1"
.
In the Nemeth code "1a" is written
and "c3" is written
. 


There are a lot of rules about how to write Nemeth code.
Students not only have to learn how to do the math, but they have to learn the
rules for reading and writing it in braille too.



Below are some more symbols that are often used in math
class. 





( 
) 
? (for fill in a missing number) 



An exponent has a special symbol in front of it so the
braille
reader knows that it is "up in the air." That symbol is written
. There isn't a symbol like this in print, in print you can see the position of the exponent in 5^{2}. Look at these sample problems and then decode the 4 problems. Check the
answer key to see if you got them correct. Braille readers, you can rightclick here to download the brailleready file containing the same sample problems.



48 + ? = 55 

(x – 7)(30 ÷ 5) = 18 











If you got the sample problems correct you're doing great.
If they stumped you a bit, then review your numbers and signs and try again another time.



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