short programming projects for kids

Discussion in 'Python' started by bobdc, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. bobdc

    bobdc Guest

    I will be teaching an "Introduction to Programming" class to some
    middle school aged children and will be using Python, obviously. Does
    anyone have suggestions for simple little programs to create and
    analyze with them after I get past turtle graphics?

    Turtle graphics will be plenty for the first session, and I will leave
    time to ask them what they'd like to do in later sessions, but I was
    curious if anyone on the list has experience picking pedagogical
    programming examples appropriate for twelve-year-olds' attention spans.
    thanks,

    Bob
    bobdc, Jan 21, 2005
    #1
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  2. bobdc wrote:
    > I will be teaching an "Introduction to Programming" class to some
    > middle school aged children and will be using Python, obviously. Does
    > anyone have suggestions for simple little programs to create and
    > analyze with them after I get past turtle graphics?
    >
    > Turtle graphics will be plenty for the first session, and I will leave
    > time to ask them what they'd like to do in later sessions, but I was
    > curious if anyone on the list has experience picking pedagogical
    > programming examples appropriate for twelve-year-olds' attention spans.
    > thanks,
    >
    > Bob
    >

    While it is not python per se, I suggest you have a look at GvR
    (Guido van Robot) (The app is written in Python but is too complicated
    for beginners). It is hosted on sourceforge (gvr.sourceforge.net).
    It is a very interesting way (imho) to learn about programming, in
    a pythonic way.

    (somewhat shameless plug follows:)
    A 'more advanced version' of GvR which uses the full Python syntax
    is RUR-PLE (rur-ple.sourceforge.net). The version currently hosted
    there does NOT work under Linux (untested on Mac).
    It uses wxPython 2.4 and will not work with 2.5.
    An updated release that will work under both Linux and Windows,
    and under both wxPython 2.4 and 2.5 will come out very soon, I hope.

    I'm working on it :) I have two kids (ages 11 and 13) and plan to use
    rur-ple to teach them about programming. Note that, even though
    I plan it to be suitable for motivated children (with some guidance),
    the end product (to be finished in a year?) is planned to be suitable
    for a complete first-year university computer science.

    Andre Roberge
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Andr=E9_Roberge?=, Jan 21, 2005
    #2
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  3. bobdc

    Adrian Casey Guest

    André Roberge wrote:

    > bobdc wrote:
    >> I will be teaching an "Introduction to Programming" class to some
    >> middle school aged children and will be using Python, obviously. Does
    >> anyone have suggestions for simple little programs to create and
    >> analyze with them after I get past turtle graphics?
    >>
    >> Turtle graphics will be plenty for the first session, and I will leave
    >> time to ask them what they'd like to do in later sessions, but I was
    >> curious if anyone on the list has experience picking pedagogical
    >> programming examples appropriate for twelve-year-olds' attention spans.
    >> thanks,
    >>
    >> Bob
    >>

    > While it is not python per se, I suggest you have a look at GvR
    > (Guido van Robot) (The app is written in Python but is too complicated
    > for beginners). It is hosted on sourceforge (gvr.sourceforge.net).
    > It is a very interesting way (imho) to learn about programming, in
    > a pythonic way.
    >
    > (somewhat shameless plug follows:)
    > A 'more advanced version' of GvR which uses the full Python syntax
    > is RUR-PLE (rur-ple.sourceforge.net). The version currently hosted
    > there does NOT work under Linux (untested on Mac).
    > It uses wxPython 2.4 and will not work with 2.5.
    > An updated release that will work under both Linux and Windows,
    > and under both wxPython 2.4 and 2.5 will come out very soon, I hope.
    >
    > I'm working on it :) I have two kids (ages 11 and 13) and plan to use
    > rur-ple to teach them about programming. Note that, even though
    > I plan it to be suitable for motivated children (with some guidance),
    > the end product (to be finished in a year?) is planned to be suitable
    > for a complete first-year university computer science.
    >
    > Andre Roberge


    I started teaching my 11 year old first of all by doing silly stuff like -:
    for i in range(10):
    print "Silly me!"

    Moving on to more useful stuff like times tables (which they have to learn
    anyway).

    After times tables, I plan to work on a simple number guessing game where
    the computer picks a random number between 1 and 100 and asks the user to
    take a guess. This will help demonstrate many basic programming concepts.

    Not sure how to introduce graphics though as so much is relatively abstract.

    Adrian.
    Adrian Casey, Jan 24, 2005
    #3
  4. bobdc

    Steve Holden Guest

    Adrian Casey wrote:

    > André Roberge wrote:
    >
    >
    >>bobdc wrote:
    >>
    >>>I will be teaching an "Introduction to Programming" class to some
    >>>middle school aged children and will be using Python, obviously. Does
    >>>anyone have suggestions for simple little programs to create and
    >>>analyze with them after I get past turtle graphics?
    >>>
    >>>Turtle graphics will be plenty for the first session, and I will leave
    >>>time to ask them what they'd like to do in later sessions, but I was
    >>>curious if anyone on the list has experience picking pedagogical
    >>>programming examples appropriate for twelve-year-olds' attention spans.
    >>>thanks,
    >>>
    >>>Bob
    >>>

    >>
    >>While it is not python per se, I suggest you have a look at GvR
    >>(Guido van Robot) (The app is written in Python but is too complicated
    >>for beginners). It is hosted on sourceforge (gvr.sourceforge.net).
    >>It is a very interesting way (imho) to learn about programming, in
    >>a pythonic way.
    >>
    >>(somewhat shameless plug follows:)
    >>A 'more advanced version' of GvR which uses the full Python syntax
    >>is RUR-PLE (rur-ple.sourceforge.net). The version currently hosted
    >>there does NOT work under Linux (untested on Mac).
    >>It uses wxPython 2.4 and will not work with 2.5.
    >>An updated release that will work under both Linux and Windows,
    >>and under both wxPython 2.4 and 2.5 will come out very soon, I hope.
    >>
    >>I'm working on it :) I have two kids (ages 11 and 13) and plan to use
    >>rur-ple to teach them about programming. Note that, even though
    >>I plan it to be suitable for motivated children (with some guidance),
    >>the end product (to be finished in a year?) is planned to be suitable
    >>for a complete first-year university computer science.
    >>
    >>Andre Roberge

    >
    >
    > I started teaching my 11 year old first of all by doing silly stuff like -:
    > for i in range(10):
    > print "Silly me!"
    >
    > Moving on to more useful stuff like times tables (which they have to learn
    > anyway).
    >
    > After times tables, I plan to work on a simple number guessing game where
    > the computer picks a random number between 1 and 100 and asks the user to
    > take a guess. This will help demonstrate many basic programming concepts.
    >
    > Not sure how to introduce graphics though as so much is relatively abstract.
    >

    Have them type in guesses to make something hit a target that appears in
    a different position each time to introduce the notion of 2-D position,
    then you can talk about drawing lines between two positions, then the
    next thing you know they're writing algorithms to compute convex hulls
    (well, maybe not, but you probably get the idea).

    regards
    Steve
    --
    Steve Holden http://www.holdenweb.com/
    Python Web Programming http://pydish.holdenweb.com/
    Holden Web LLC +1 703 861 4237 +1 800 494 3119
    Steve Holden, Jan 24, 2005
    #4
  5. bobdc

    Duncan Booth Guest

    bobdc wrote:

    > I will be teaching an "Introduction to Programming" class to some
    > middle school aged children and will be using Python, obviously. Does
    > anyone have suggestions for simple little programs to create and
    > analyze with them after I get past turtle graphics?
    >
    > Turtle graphics will be plenty for the first session, and I will leave
    > time to ask them what they'd like to do in later sessions, but I was
    > curious if anyone on the list has experience picking pedagogical
    > programming examples appropriate for twelve-year-olds' attention spans.
    > thanks,
    >

    Have you looked at http://www.livewires.org.uk/python/ ?
    Duncan Booth, Jan 24, 2005
    #5
  6. bobdc

    Guest

    I was just about to suggest Livewires. I'm a programming newb (35 yrs
    old ) haha- and I'm finding the lIvewires course pretty helpful, even
    though it's geared for teens. I suppose my brain works on that
    functional level. :) And a book that's great for beginner's (know you
    probably don't want to buy books but just wanted to throw this info out
    there in case it helps somehow) is Python Programming for the Absolute
    Beginner by Michael Dawson. I'm working through that too and it's
    wonderful. It had many fairly simple to implement programs (lots of
    them simple games) that build on each other in a very easily
    comprehended, step-by-step manner.
    Hope htis helps-
    , Jan 24, 2005
    #6
  7. bobdc

    bobdc Guest

    Thanks André, Adrian, Steve, Duncan, and zombiehunter for the
    excellent suggestions.

    Bob
    bobdc, Jan 26, 2005
    #7
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