Visual Intro to Python
Learn Python While Programming a Robotic Turtle
This visual self-paced course is an excellent introduction to Python programming for beginners.
About the Course
Students learn fundamental concepts including Python syntax and code formatting, loops, nested loops, variables, functions, Boolean logic, conditions, lists, and recursion while programming a robotic turtle.
The turtle has a pen which allows her to draw beautiful geometric patterns. These patterns can be extruded to 3D and exported for 3D printing and/or laser cutting. Sample designs are shown on the bottom of this page.
The turtle also has a color sensor which allows her to detect and recognize colors on the ground beneath her. These sensors allow her to solve a variety of robotics tasks:
The turtle also has a LIDAR sensor whose usage was illustrated in the first video on top of this page. This sensor allows her to measure distance to objects in front of her. Such sensors are used in autonomous cars. The LIDAR allows the turtle to avoid obstacles, navigate through unknown mazes, and perform a wide range of other robotics tasks.
As a final example, a great way to learn recursion is while drawing simple fractals:
- Unit 1: Learn Python syntax and code formatting. Write programs to draw various geometrical objects using for loops and nested loops.
- Unit 2: Learn how to create and use variables, the difference between local and global variables, and how to define and use functions.
- Unit 3: Learn Boolean logic and decision making. Work with Boolean values True and False, and with Boolean operators and, or, not.
- Unit 4: Learn how to create empty and non-empty lists, how to perform important operations with lists, and how to use recursion.
- No prior computer programming experience is required.
- Students type code and learn proper syntax and structure from the beginning (no block programming).
- All geometries can be exported as STL files for 3D printing and SVG files for laser cutting.
- Course is accompanied with an app where students can create their own projects.
- Course is aligned with Common Core Math Content and Practice Standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Crosscutting Concepts, Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) with an emphasis on Engineering Design, and CSTA/CSforAll Computer Science Standards.
- Course was designed by a team of educators and software developers with decades of practical experience.
Every Learner Is Different
The Visual Intro to Python course uses simple logic and is designed to be visual and fun. However, the programs are written in full Python syntax. This approach demands that students pay attention to important details, such as colons, decimal points and parentheses. Such details sometimes cause frustration for complete beginners. Should you find the Visual Intro to Python course too challenging, take our Introduction to Computer Programming (Karel Coding) course first.