Sudoku is a fun puzzle that lets kids use their logical reasoning and critical thinking skills. Sudoku puzzles are traditionally numbers; however, any pictures or words can be turned into Sudoku puzzles! Here is a fun print Halloween Sudoku, kids cut and glue pictures into the puzzle. A pumpkin, ghost, candy, and bat must appear once and only once in each row, column, and block.
This Halloween Sudoku puzzle has been modified to be accessible on the iPad for students who are blind. Sudoku is basically a grid - a table without headers. Sudoku puzzles are a wonderful way to teach students who use screen readers how to navigate grids and tables using a screen reader.
Navigating a Grid/Table with VoiceOver
Here are the directions for navigating and completing the Halloween Sudoku Puzzle in the Pages app on the iPad with VoiceOver:
- Move the VoiceOver focus to the first cell in the table (row 1, column 1). VoiceOver will read, “Table 1, four rows, four columns, column A, row 1, empty cell, double tap to select.”
- Set the rotor to Rows; two finger twist, stopping on the Row option.
- Now, you can navigate through the table by cells, using right, left, up or down swipes.
Navigate across the table, staying in Row 1; right swipes to navigate to the right.
- VoiceOver has already announced, “Column A, empty cell” so the next cell announcement will be “Column B, Candy” then, “Column C, Pumpkin” and the last announcement for Row 1 is, “Column D, Ghost”.
- Now the student knows that Row 1 has an empty cell then Candy, Pumpkin and Ghost; “bat” is the only word left.
- Navigate to the empty cell (row 1, column A) and type in the word “bat”.
- Check Column A to make sure that each word is only used once. When in the first cell, swipe down. VoiceOver will announce Row 2, Ghost, then Row 3, Pumpkin, then Row 4, Candy.
- Move to Column B then swipe down to complete the puzzle in Column B or move to Row 2 and swipe right to complete the puzzle in Row 2.
Teacher Hint: Make sure that the student LISTENS to the VoiceOver hint about row numbers and column names. This will help your student learn the spatial relationship of the grid. (If the student right swipes without listening to the VoiceOver hints, he/she does not know when VoiceOver has moved to the next row or column – spatially, the student thinks the cells are all in one long line.) For students who do not yet have a good mental model of a table, teach the student to drag his/her finger - in a straight line - across the row or down the column. The student should carefully listen to the VoiceOver hints, as VoiceOver announces either the new row or the new column, depending on which way the student drags his/her finger. This announcement will alert the student if he/she has accidently dragged down and not in a straight line across the row. For efficient table navigation, the student should use swipes (or arrow keys on a Bluetooth keyboard or braille display.
Create an Accessible Sudoku puzzle
To create an accessible table on the iPad;
- Open the Pages app.
- Create a new Pages document.
- Type in the title of the Sudoku Puzzle.
- If your student is learning about grids/tables, type a sentence that describes the grid. Example: “This grid is 4 x 4 (four rows by four columns).”
- Type the Sudoku directions.
- To make the table, select the “insert button” (plus symbol).
- Select the Table button (first button in the popup).
- Select the Plain Table (third option – the one without Headers). The table now appears in your Pages document.
Type the desired words in each cell, leaving blank cells.
- For beginners, leave only one blank cell in each row and column.
- For more challenging Sudoku puzzles, leave additional cells blank, but be sure that students can still complete the puzzle correctly.
- Add additional rows or columns (and add additional words).
- The default table is 5 rows x 4 columns. To make the table 4 rows, tap the circle under the table then select the desired number. (When working on the table, to the rows will be numbered on the left side and the columns will be labeled at the top.)
If a student is just learning about grids/tables, create a tactile grid first. Use sticky-backed foam shapes (star, circle, square, triangle) and create a simple Sudoku puzzle. Create the same puzzle on the iPad. Teach the grid/table concepts with the tactile puzzle, then transition to the digital puzzle.
Go to Education.com for the colorful print version of the Halloween Sudoku puzzle.
Unfortunately, the formatting is lost when I tried to upload the accessible Pages document to the Paths to Technology website. You will have to create your own, following the steps listed above. The Pages screenshot above shows the accessible version with the words - pumpkin, ghost, candy and bat - instead of pictures. (Note: The grid lines did not show up in the screenshot above; however, in Pages, the table's grid lines are visable.)
Do you have a student using a computer? Create your own Sudoku tables in Word! Here is a post about creating accessible Word tables.
Want to know more about digital grids and tables? Go to Digital Transitions post.