After a protracted and difficult yr, I have been trying ahead to as soon as once more sharing my love of Python and open supply software program with different individuals, particularly center and highschool college students. Before the pandemic, I co-wrote a grant to show Python programming to center college college students utilizing Raspberry Pi computer systems. Like many different plans, COVID-19 put mine on maintain for over a yr. Fortunately, vaccines and the improved well being in my state, New York, have modified the dynamic.
A few months in the past, as soon as I grew to become totally vaccinated, I provided to self-fund a Raspberry Pi and Python programming course in our native public library system. The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library system accepted my proposal, and the co-central library in Olean, N.Y., provided to fund my program. The library bought 5 Raspberry Pi 400 models, Micro-HDMI-to-VGA adapters, and inline energy adapters, and the library system’s IT division loaned us 5 VGA screens.
With all our gear wants met, we invited center college college students to enroll for 4 afternoons of studying and programming enjoyable.
All the scholars have been socially distanced, every with a brand new Pi 400 and VGA monitor at their desk. Our class was small, made up of a fourth-grade pupil and two sixth-grade college students. None had a programming background, and their keyboarding abilities have been tough. However, their innate curiosity and enthusiasm carried the day.
Learning and iterating
We spent the primary afternoon assembling the Pi 400s, connecting them to the library’s wi-fi community, and putting in the Mu Python editor, which we used for the category.
I adopted this with a quick introduction to Raspberry Pi OS and the way it differs from Windows and macOS computer systems and provided a quick tutorial on utilizing the Mu editor.
Since we have been assembly in a public library, I emphasised that the library has books masking the ideas and Python programming code used within the class, particularly Teach Your Kids to Code by Dr. Bryson Payne and Python for Kids by Jason Briggs. I created each day handouts for the scholars to confer with alongside the instruction. I additionally used my very own Raspberry PI 400 linked to a 32″ LCD monitor as an instance the code and programming outcomes.
I like to make use of the turtle module to introduce Python programming. It’s at all times been properly obtained, and the scholars love the graphics they’ll create whereas studying Python fundamentals like variables,
for loops, lists, and the significance of syntax.
I study one thing new each time I educate, and this was no exception. I particularly take pleasure in watching college students iterate on my code examples—some are from books, and others are my very own creations. The fourth-grader in our class took this instance code and added two extra colours and corresponding code to create a six-color spiral.
# multicolor spiral
import turtle as t
colours = ["red", "yellow", "blue", "green"]
for x in vary(100):
At the tip of the four-day course, every pupil obtained a Raspberry Pi 400 and a e book explaining easy methods to program their laptop. They additionally received an inventory of free and open supply software program assets, a studying listing of beneficial books accessible within the library, and a few open academic assets accessible on the net.
Mark Van Doren mentioned, “the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” I noticed that play out on this classroom utilizing open supply instruments. More college students want alternatives like this to assist them acquire a top quality schooling. The Raspberry Pi 400 is a superb type issue for educating and studying.
The Olean Library plans to supply one other related course later this yr. I encourage you to share your love of free and open supply software program with your personal communities.