Digital Literacy

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Estimated Time:12 minutes

Score Type:Auto Score

This lesson automatically provides a score to your gradebook

Available Language: English

Vocabulary: Office button, application button, command, contextual menu, dialog box, gallery, groups, home tab, hover, live preview, quick access, review, ribbon interface, spell check

Primary Objectives:

  • Students learn that in software that uses the ribbon interface, the file menu they may have used with other programs has been replaced by a rectangular or round “Application button."
  • Students learn that the Application button is located at the top left of the screen, positioned at or slightly above where the file menu would be if this were a menu interface, just before the Home tab.
  • Students learn that when the Application button is round, it is called the Office button.
  • Students learn what commands are available from the Application button.
  • Students learn that the home tab provides the most commonly used commands, such as the editing and formatting commands.
  • Students learn that most tabs are named for activities you are doing, like “Review,” which provides tools such as “Spell Check.”
  • Students learn that if they don't know what a command does, they can hover over it to see a tooltip that will explain.
  • Students learn how to access help in software that uses the ribbon.
  • Students learn that the parts of the ribbon interface are Tabs, Groups and Commands and can identify each part and explain what it does.
  • Students learn about contextual menus and how to use them.
  • Students learn what Galleries are and how to use them.
  • Students learn that galleries feature “Live Preview” so they can instantly see the changes they will make.
  • Students learn that below groups there are often arrows you can click on to open dialog boxes with more commands.
  • Students learn about the Quick Access area and how it can be customized.
  • Students learn that they can right click (or, on a Mac with one mouse button, Ctrl-mouse click) for a context menu of commands that are relevant to what they last clicked on or selected.
  • Students learn how to insert an illustration into a report.

Secondary Objectives:

  • Students learn that clouds surround six planets in our solar system.
  • Students learn that clouds form at different levels in the atmosphere.
  • Students learn that clouds on Earth are made up of water droplets or ice crystals.
  • Students learn that temperature influences the kind of precipitation that comes from clouds.
  • Students learn that clouds are used in weather forecasting.
  • Students learn three main groups of clouds (Stratus, Cumulus, Cirrus) and the appearance of each.
  • Students learn the four ways clouds form.
  • Students review basic steps in the Scientific Method.
  • Students are reminded of the importance of spell checking a document after writing.
  • Students review some of the basic parts of a tree.


Authoring Tools

Information Technology > Software Applications > Authoring Tools

Authoring Tools 

Information Technology > Software Applications > Authoring Tools 

Cloud Computing 

Information Technology > Networking > Cloud Computing 

English Language Arts 

Information Technology > Connects to Other Disciplines > English Language Arts 

Operating Systems 

Information Technology > Basic Operations and Concepts > Operating Systems 

Presentation Software 

Information Technology > Software Applications > Presentation Software 

Productivity Tools

Information Technology > Software Applications > Productivity Tools

Productivity Tools 

Information Technology > Software Applications > Productivity Tools 


Information Technology > Connects to Other Disciplines > Science 


Information Technology > Software Applications > Spreadsheets


Information Technology > Software Applications > Spreadsheets 

Student Technical Writing and Documentation Production 

Information Technology > Student Use > Student Technical Writing and Documentation Production 

Visual Literacy 

Information Technology > Student Use > Visual Literacy 
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Teacher Notes:

  • The ribbon interface lesson incorporates information about clouds through the scientist’s report on cloud experiments. After the lesson, you might want to show pictures of different kinds of cloud to students and discuss how each one differs.

  • Students should know what the icon for text color looks like in a word processing program.

  • Students should be familiar with the menu and toolbar systems common to previous software designs.

  • Students should know that word processing software includes styles that allow users to change the look of their work.

  • Students should know that pictures can be inserted into documents.

Extension Ideas:

  • The Ribbon interface represents a system of organization. Talk with students about why organization is valuable. Talk with them about how things they are familiar with are organized. (How are kitchens organized? How is the classroom organized? How are libraries organized?) Ask how students use organization in their daily lives? (In games they play? In school? In their bedrooms at home? When they’re doing homework?)
  • The Ribbon interface can apply to any type of software program. Ask students to create their own software program. Ask them to imagine and then write/draw an interface for a video game or for story writing software. How would they organize the elements of the game or story? What TABS, GROUPS, and COMMANDS would they put on the ribbon? Would they need a TAB for CHARACTERS? For PLACES? For ACTION?
  • Ask students to explore a spreadsheet software program that uses the ribbon interface. Ask them to create a chart to display the cloud information presented in Dr. Zinger’s report? In one column, they can list the three TYPE of cloud, in a second column APPEARANCE of cloud, in a third column DISTANCE from Earth. After students complete the table, they can experiment with Gallery styles to improve the look of the table.


1B-CS-02 Model how computer hardware and software work together as a system to accomplish tasks. (P4.4)
2-CS-02 Design projects that combine hardware and software components to collect and exchange data. (P5.1)
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