Enjoy the Library’s Library Chat Podcast for February all about Braille, the Braille Challenge and our accessible STEM Fest. Library staff discuss the Iowa Regional Braille Challenge and the IDB STEM Fest that was hosted by the Library at the Iowa Department for the Blind on Saturday, February 25, 2023. Jodi, Angie and Leland had a chance to talk with the students participating in the Braille Challenge, their parents and IDB staff about braille. The podcast also features a song created and performed by Frank Strong especially for the Braille Challenge and a rap that staff member, Jodi Aldini wrote and performed highlighting the Braille Challenge participants.
Saturday, February 25, 2023
at the Iowa Department for the Blind
524 4th Street, Des Moines
Registration begins at 8:30am and the Opening Pep Rally starts at 9:30am.
What is the Braille Challenge?
The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. Braille Institute developed the Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.
Any blind or visually impaired student in grades 1 – 12 who can read and write braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. All Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs.
All students can compete in the preliminary Braille Challenge events, which are held from January through the end of March throughout the United States and Canada, but only the top 50 students (10 in each category) with the highest scores are invited to Los Angeles for the final round – two days of competition, camaraderie and fun!
Contest Age Groups
- Apprentice—1st and 2nd grades
- Freshman—3rd and 4th grades
- Sophomore—5th and 6th grades
- Junior Varsity—7th, 8th and 9th grades
- Varsity—10th, 11th and 12th grades
For more information check out information from the Braille Institute.
2023 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge
Congratulations to all of our Braille Challenge participants!
1st Place: Niyati P.
1st Place: Leonard M.
2nd Place: Gage S.
1st Place: Khanh T.
2nd Place: Lane T.
1st Place: Jordan R.
2nd Place: Jordan J.
3rd Place: Brinley P.
Junior Varsity Group
1st Place: Kayla B.
1st Place: Nathan D.
2nd Place: Jalyn D.
3rd Place: Zachary N.
Each student participating will receive a free Braille Challenge T-shirt. T-shirts for family members and others will be sold by the Friends of the Library.
To help us celebrate the 2023 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge and Braille literacy, we are pleased to work with local, small business The Side Garage this year for the Braille Challenge t-shirt. The theme for 2023 is Braille! Let the Sunshine In.
All shirts are crew neck and short sleeved. Shirts are heather yellow with black lettering. The front of the t-shirt says in print: BRAILLE let the sunshine in., with a graphic of a sun with a smiling face surrounded by sunbeams, hidden in some of the sunbeams is the word braille in braille. The back of the t-shirt says, BRAILLE let the sunshine in, in braille. All sizing is unisex and all shirts are $20.00. Participants of the Braille Challenge will be provided with a t-shirt that have been generously donated by the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will benefit the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and future Braille Challenges.
Your t-shirt will be shipped directly to you.
Missed ordering a shirt? The T-shirt Order Form will be open until Friday, March 3, 2023!
We would like to thank all the participants and organizations for all of their hard work! The STEM Fest was a huge success!
Following the Braille Challenge on Saturday, February 25, 2023
2:00pm – 4:00pm at the Iowa Department for the Blind
in partnership with South Central STEM Hub.
This event is open to the public and will include STEM activities and demonstrations. All hands-on activities, demos and materials made with the principles of universal design in mind.
This year, an in-person STEM festival is back. STEM stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math. From 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM that same day, the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) will partner with the South Central (SC) STEM Hub to host an event themed: Let the Sunshine In! The festival is open to the public and will serve all children in grades K-12 and their families.
Exhibitors from around the metro area will share expertise in STEM, and all activities will be based on the best practices of Universal Design concepts and materials will be provided in accessible formats (large print and braille). Participants can take part in cooking and wood shop demonstrations highlighting non-visual techniques.
The goal of the event is to communicate that STEM is all-inclusive and that the best ideas come when diverse minds team up to solve problems.