Preschoolers learn to group items into categories, starting with activities that group by color, shape or size. The content of what is being categorized becomes more challenging as students progress through grade levels. Categorizing is a life-long skill! In our 21st century classrooms, young students learn to use tables before learning to sort data in a spreadsheet.
Best practice dictates that students need to be invested in the activity. Instead of teaching a technology skill - such as tables - in isolation, teach the skills using real class assignments. Real assignments will increase the student's motivation to learn the technology and as the student focuses on the content of the assignment, he/she naturally learns the tech skill.
In this second-grade activity, students will learn to insert a table in Google Docs on an iPad with VoiceOver. Using this table, students will organize and label animals into warm-blooded or cold-blooded groups. Note: The content can be adapted for different grade levels. The activity can be done with any device (tablet or computer) or application (Docs, Word, or Pages) and any screen reader (VoiceOver, ChromeVox, JAWS, or NVDA). This post will specifically provide information on how to use Google Docs on an iPad with VoiceOver.
This activity goes along with a science lesson on warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. Students should first learn about the characteristics of warm and cold-blooded animals. The Microbe Notes website has nice information about warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. (Note: The cover image to this post is from the Microbe Notes website.)
For students who are new to navigating a table in Google Docs, the first activity might be to complete a digital worksheet that has a table. The image below is a screenshot of the Google Docs worksheet: Identify Warm/Cold-Blooded Animals. The text in the screen shot is: "Identify warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. Write the name of the animal in column one. In column two, label the animal "warm-blooded" or "cold-blooded". Word List: Bear, turtle, frog, tiger, newt, eagle, ostrich, whale, snake, guppy, gold fish." The table is 2 columns by 11 rows. The first row is filled out as an example: "Bear" (column 1) and "Warm-Blooded" (column 2). Using animals in the word list, students will complete the table.
Download the Identify Warm/Cold-Blooded Animals PDF
For students who are ready to create their own table, ask the student to create their own Identify Warm/Cold-Blooded Animals document with a table containing 2 columns by 11 rows. Provide the list of animals or have the student come up with 10 animals. The student adds the animal names in column one and then labels the animal warm or cold-blooded in column two.
How To Insert a Table
With Google Docs, label the document. At the top of the page, the student should type in the name of the table. If desired for easy reference, the student can type the list of animals.
Note: If the student is doing this activity independently, provide a Google Doc with the instructions only (without the table).
Image: Screen shot of Identify Warm/Cold-Blooded Animals 2 with text, "Name your table (Identify Warm/Cold-Blooded animals). Create a table (2 columns by 11 rows). In the first column, type the animal. In the second column, label the animal as Warm-Blooded or Cold Blooded. Animal Word List: Bear, turtle, frog, tiger, newt, eagle, ostrich, whale, snake, guppy, gold fish."
Note: This document does not have a table.
Download the Identify Warm/Cold-Blooded Animals 2 PDF
To create the table, the student will:
- Select the Insert button in the Tool bar at the top of the page (+ symbol)
- Select the Table button
- Adjust the value of the number of columns by swiping up to number 11
- Adjust the value of the number of rows by swiping down to 2
- Select Insert Table button
Video Tutorial of Google Docs (Table section starts with 6:31 - 10:59)
Link to Google Docs ID Warm/Cold-Blooded 2
Aligning with AT Technology Scope and Sequence
Most of the following skills are introduced in first grade, reinforce in second grade, master in third grade.
Word Processing: Use a word processing application to write, edit, print and save simple assignments
- Identify and explain terms and concepts related to spreadsheets (i.e. cell, column, row, values, labels, chart, graph)
- Be exposed to pre-requisite skills: Rows, columns, and simple grids (tactile then tactile paired with digital) (Introduce in Kindergarten)
- Transition from tactile charts and graphs to digital charts and graphcs (introduce in Kindergarten)
- Use Bluetooth keyboard and braille display commands to navigate by row or column (introduce in 1st)