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Thanks for the question Susan!
The following responses reference <i>Guidelines & Standard for Tactile Graphics, 2010</i> (i.e., GSTG). If you're curious, you can find GSTG at the following URL: http://www.brailleauthority.
First off, GSTG (2010) specifies that we should omit the number sign on Cartesian graphs (see GSTG, Unit 6, pages 6-1 through 6-2, and section 220.127.116.11). No transcriber's note or other accounting is required for this. However, GSTG indicates that if the labels allow for confusion in cases where braille might be interpreted as either a number or alphabetic character, the numeric indicator (dots 3456) should be used to clarify what is meant. That said, since you indicate that the teacher wants an <u>empty</u> Cartesian graph (i.e., a graph without braille labels for what each axis represents) for students' use, there may be no such confusion and a numeric indicator will likely not be necessary anywhere on your TG.
If you are faced with crowding on the coordinate number lines, GSTG 18.104.22.168 allows us to omit some of the numbers. For example, while including all tick marks from -10 to 10 across the coordinate regions you could choose to omit odd numbers to save space.
For more space saving, it is also allowable to omit the dot 5 from negative number signs. This follows from the way GSTG correlates information on number lines with the way we should represent the axes on a Cartesian graph -- see GSTG 22.214.171.124 (page 6-21) and the example in GSTG on pages 6-23 through 6-25.
In general, all of the advice in GSTG 6.6.2 is useful when converting Cartesian graphs to TGs.
Additionally, it may be important to find out what methods students will be using to plot information into the empty Cartesian graphs you provide. This is because the plotted lines students add should be the most distinctive lines on the graph (GSTG 126.96.36.199). This means that you should choose a method for reproducing your TGs so that whatever method students use to plot data on the Cartesian plane, those lines will be bolder and more distinct than your grid lines and axis lines.
While we are on the topic of the tactile "vocabulary" of lines on a Cartesian graph, GSTG 188.8.131.52 indicates that the grid lines should be the least distinctive of all lines on the graph, and the axis lines should be tactually distinct from the grid lines. However, as above, the actual data plot lines should be the most distinctive on a completed graph.
Finally, our resident expert in the use of CorelDraw on the <i>NBA TG Skills Group</i> provides the attached screenshot for setting up and using CorelDraw's "TM Macro" to accomplish the above. Please note that the "TM Macro" in CorelDraw will automatically insert numeric passage indicators and terminators above and below the Cartesian graph, and insert dot-5 before the minus sign on negative numbers -- you will have to remove those features manually after the "TM Macro" in CorelDraw does it's thing.
Please let us know if this answers your questions!