Simple 3x4 table with rows labeled 1-3 and columns labeled A-D; a red horse 'sticker' is in row 2

Teaching Positions in a Table: iOS Activity

YOU can create a simple table with accessible pictures!

As an educator working with students who are visually impaired or blind, I am always looking for digital resources to teach young students about math concepts. While there seems to be unlimited math concept games for young students in the App Store, very few of these games are accessible with VoiceOver. Students who rely on screen readers, also need to be introduced at a young age to simple math concepts in tactual formats and in digital formats.  (Read more about math digital transitions here.) As our classrooms become paperless, educators need tools to create their own accessible materials. You can imagine my excitment when I recently stumbled across an exciting new feature in iOS 11, called ‘shapes’! 

‘Shapes’ are fun stickers or images that can be added to a document or table. These simple, solid-colored images are fully accessible with VoiceOver. Grids, graphs, and tables are a fundamental piece of math (and science), which require good spatial concepts and mental mapping skills. Students need to understand rows and columns, and the relationship between items in the grid squares. The location of an item is described by which row and column the item is located in.

Shapes are organized by the categories below. There are 12 shapes in each category.

In this post, we will discuss how educators can use Shapes to teach a position in a table using the Numbers app on an iPad.

Note: In the directions, Shapes will be called ‘Stickers’ as there are many more image options than just standard shapes such as a square or circle!

Create a Table with Shapes

Cell is selected with drop down menu showing font size 80 point.” screenshot of a spreadsheet

Style button selected with width at 3 point. Red horse sticker is now loutlined in black.” screenshot of a spreadsheet with a blue horse

Style button selected with width at 3 point. Large red horse sticker is now outlined in black.”screenshot of a spreadsheet with a red horse

Screenshot of Numbers table: Title textfield is open and title popup shows font size 31 point, text color black.
Screenshot of Numbers Table: Small red horse in row 2, column C.


Numbers Spreadsheet is accessible with VoiceOver; however, there are some VoiceOver hints that are important to know!

Note: The stickers are NOT permanent. A student can accidently move the sticker to a new location! 

Teacher Hint: This is a great activity to teach a student how to systematically scan a table by moving left to right across each row (or by moving from top to bottom down each column). As the student drags from left to right, ask him to state the Column name (letter) as he moves across each square.

Screenshot of Numbers table: Horse in row 1, column A, rooster 1,C and pig 3,B

Additional Activities

Create a table with multiple stickers.

Print out the directions “Create a Table with Stickers in Numbers” here.

Collage of teaching positions in a table

Attached File(s)
By Diane Brauner

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