[triangle-zpug] Local TriLUGer helps 7th graders with Python

David Handy david at handysoftware.com
Mon Feb 25 19:30:36 UTC 2008

Hi Joseph -

Good luck with your 7th graders!

I have had some amazing teaching experiences lately that have given me more
motivation to go out and teach some more kids programming. I took some
11-year-old Boy Scouts to an activity last Saturday. One of them finished
his Chemistry merit badge 45 minutes before the others were done, so to kill
time he got out a pen and paper and started doing geometry and calculus
problems. For fun. I'm seriously not making this up. He is 11 years old and
had been checking out books from the library and teaching himself advanced
math. After watching him for a couple of minutes I couldn't stand it any
more and started teaching him how to apply differentials and integrals to
solving Physics problems. I gave him a copy of my "Computer Programming is
Fun!" book. The other boy got jealous so I gave him copy of my book also,
after making him prove his sincerity by working through a lesson while I

I met the first boy's parents the next day at church and they said he had
worked through the first 7 lessons in my book that same evening after he got
home. (I presume after that his parents made him go to bed...)

So they are out there, young people with an intense desire to learn. It's
really fun to see them take off.

I assume that Chris pointed you at the website for my book at

Regardless of whether you use my book, you might at least want to consider
using my packaged version of Python. I have created a custom Python
installer that installs Python, including its "IDLE" program editor and
console, and some sample programs that I have written (that go with the

Benefits of using my installer over the standard one:

1. The installer runs real fast and asks very few questions, great for
impatient beginners

2. It creates a personal "MyPrograms" directory inside your "My
Documents" folder, and then copies some sample programs there.

3. When you start up IDLE using my "CPIF Python" start menu item, it sets
the current directory to your MyPrograms directory. That way beginners don't
save their programs in random locations on the hard drive. It also makes it
easier later for them to import the modules they create from the command
prompt in the Python Shell window.

You can get this installer at

Have fun teaching programming!

David H

On Mon, Feb 25, 2008 at 01:41:09PM -0500, Chris Calloway wrote:
> Please Welcome Joseph Mack to the TriZPUG list.
> I became aware of what Joseph is doing through the TriLUG list.
> Joseph volunteered to teach programming to some seventh graders.
> The seventh graders demanded they be taught Python.
> Joseph knows programming. But he didn't know Python.
> But Python being what it is, simple, that didn't stop Joseph.
> Joseph has put in a ton of work making this:
> http://www.austintek.com/python_class/
> It tries to be language neutral, instead of pythonic, and starts with 
> binary numbers.
> I pointed Joseph at David Handy's book.
> -- 
> Sincerely,
> Chris Calloway
> http://www.secoora.org
> office: 332 Chapman Hall   phone: (919) 599-3530
> mail: Campus Box #3300, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
> _______________________________________________
> triangle-zpug mailing list
> triangle-zpug at starship.python.net
> http://starship.python.net/mailman/listinfo/triangle-zpug

David Handy
Computer Programming is Fun!
Beginning Computer Programming with Python

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