The objective of this activity is to teach your student how to create a specific type of line chart called a time series chart. The ability to create line charts is a skill that can be used in classes such as science and economics. The activity may also serve as a catalyst for conversations about personal finance, career interests, etc. This activity may be more effective if you encourage your student to use data that is personally relevant. For example, encourage your student to consider products they use on a regular basis and then create charts for the companies that make those products.
Before you begin
Place the keyboard in front of your student so they can “drive” and perform the steps defined below.
Find historical data for a specific company
Go to yahoo finance.
Move focus to the edit field with the label, “Search for news, symbols, or companies”. Visually, it is located at the top center of the page. It is also the first edit field on the page which should be easy for screen reader users to find.
Type the name of a company in the search field, e.g. “Microsoft” and then press Enter.
Find and activate the “Historical data” link. Visually, it is located in the center of the page. The fastest way to find it with a Windows screen reader is to press Control + F and then search for the word “historical”.
After you activate the “Historical data” link, you should see a large table of historical price data on the page. By default, the table should contain about 100 rows of price data for the selected company. The column headings should be: Date, Open, High, Low, etc. Each row of the table should contain the price data for a particular date.
Extract the data into your laboratory
After you verify that historical price data is displayed on the page, you can now extract that data from the page.
Open the SAS Graphics Accelerator popup menu. Sighted mouse users can do this by clicking the SAS Graphics Accelerator icon in the Chrome tool bar. The icon looks like a stylized “s” that is blue. Windows screen reader users can open the popup menu by pressing Alt to move focus to the Chrome menu in the tool bar, pressing Left Arrow to find the SAS Graphics Accelerator icon, and then pressing Spacebar to open the popup menu.
Activate the “Extract tables from this page” button within the popup menu. That should open the “Prepare Table” page in a new browser tab.
The Prepare Table page may contain several tables. Make sure only the “7 by 102” table is the only table that is selected. Windows screen reader users can quickly do this by pressing X to move focus to each checkbox on the page. Press Spacebar to select or deselect a checkbox.
Now, activate the “Save to Laboratory” button on the Prepare Table page. That should save the table to your laboratory and then display the table on the “Table page” as indicated by the heading at the top of the page and the title bar of the Google Chrome window.
Create a chart
Each column in the table on the Table page contains a variable such as Date, Open, High, Low, etc. The heading for each of those columns should be a link. Activate the “Date” link in the top left cell of the table. That should open the “Variable page” for the Date variable as indicated by the heading at the top of the page and the title bar of the Google Chrome window.
The left side of the Variable page contains a summary of the variable. In this case, the summary should display the beginning and end of the Date range. The right side of the page should contain a table that compares the Date variable against other variables such as Open, High, Low, etc.
Activate the “Time series plot showing Adj Close** by Date” link. That should open a chart that plots the adjusted closing price on the Y axis and Date on the X axis.
How can your blind student quickly understand the shape and trend of that chart? That’s the topic of another blog post.