Python for middle schoolers … Python is really an versatile programming language. It is suitable for beginners who’re just getting started with coding because it is simple enough that they won’t have any trouble.
Learning Python isn’t only useful to program computers, but also teaches young kids problem-solving skills that can be used in other subjects–that’s why so many schools are using it!
Project Based Python Programming for Kids and Beginners
In this Udemy course, kids build projects like user interfaces, desktop applications, games, and websites. They learn through video instruction, example code, downloadable project files and quizzes.
There are 14 fun and easy Python projects at CodeClubProjects.org. They range from a text program that answers simple questions to a password generator that actually creates secure passwords. Each project includes a PDF, file downloads, and any other necessary resources.
Using a small programmable computer and Python, kids can build all kinds of interesting real-world gizmos. The Raspberry Pi enables young coders to make their own robots, interact with a variety of sensors, and more. You can pick up a Raspberry Pi 4 for about $55 and some models are as little as $10.
Trinket is a great Python training program to help kids who learned to code using Scratch or Codecombat. This free Python platform allows students to code in Python purely on web browsers. Students create their own accounts when starting out, which allows them to save their code during each session.
Students who are familiar with Scratch will recognize the “Remix” option, which allows you to take someone else’s project, create your own copy, and edit the code from there. Trinket also has a graphical library called Turtle which allows users to draw things on the screen—great for the highly visual learner.
PixelPad is similar to Trinket in many ways, and is another great free platform for kids learning Python. Like Trinket, PixelPad allows users to set up an account on a web browser and log in to create and save their code in the cloud. PixelPad is more game-like than Trinket, and has step-by-step curriculums to help keep students on track
For students who are more logic-oriented, Coding Bat is a great free option. Both Python and Java are available to learn on Coding Bat, making it a great program to get familiar with if your child is thinking about picking up Java, as well.
Rather than the game-like style of PixelPad, Coding Bat presents kids with logical problems which they have to solve using code. After completing each puzzle, students submit their Python code for the site to check their answers. It’s a simple concept, but is a fantastic way to help kids hone coding basics such as if-then conditions.
CodeWizardsHQ’s online coding classes for kids combines elements that promote student engagement with strategies that help kids build solid programming skills. A live instructor guides students through a project-based curriculum. The Python for Kids classes and projects are based on topics kids enjoy like superheroes, videos, and apps.
The class includes an in-browser code editor for kids to experiment with code and submit work for the instructor to review. Students in Python for Kids spend most of their time coding, so they get valuable practice time. Parents also receive weekly progress updates.
Introduction to Python is geared toward kids 12 and older. Kids start by learning about coding fundamentals such as variables, loops, and if/then statements. From there, they progress to working with graphics and eventually to building games.
This is a self-paced course where kids work through a series of 13 lessons at their own pace.
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Root Coding (Tool)
You don’t need to know a programming language or understand robotics to introduce Root Coding in your classroom. Root Coding has detailed tutorials that teach how to use it, and how to code, in small steps. Even the most basic tutorials are fun; build and navigate an obstacle course, compose a song, write your initials, or create an artistic design. Once you and your students have acquired some basic skills, there are plenty of guided activities to choose from and a blank template for custom projects.
One activity type is called “Finish the Story,” where students code Root to respond to a particular story prompt. Following this template, teachers and students can easily create their own prompts for Root’s adventures. Subscribe to Root Academy for additional tutorials, lesson ideas, and printable activity cards. Some of these activities include making decision trees, number lines, and vocabulary games, so you can either let kids choose based on interest or set the same challenge for them all. The app also has a built-in simulator, enabling students to test their code without connecting to the robot. Use this feature to encourage students to refine their code. The simulator is also great for classrooms with more students (and iPads) than robots. With Root Coding, you could build an elementary coding program, supplement a secondary programming course, or grow your library’s makerspace.
Learn Python is a comprehensive Python fundamentals course from Codecademy, a pioneer in online coding education with a very popular platform. Students complete a series of interactive lessons in an online coding environment that provides instant feedback.
This course isn’t specifically designed for kids, but the lessons should be suitable for most high school and some middle school students.
Udemy is an online-course platform that any subject-matter expert can use to create and publish educational content. Potential instructors submit their course ideas, which are evaluated and must be approved by Udemy.
Use Practice Tutorials – Best Online Python Tutorials for Kids
- Practice Python
Trinket’s Hour of Python is a collection of Python tutorials, challenges, and exercises for complete beginners as well as more experienced kids. Many of the challenges are modeled after simple real-world problems that professional coders have to solve.
TechRocket offers several themed tutorials for kids in a variety of programming languages, including Python. Bad Luck In Space is a series of progressive lessons developed around a space-themed game. To win, kids have to program their way out of dangerous situations like a malfunctioning spaceship and attacking aliens.
This website contains dozens of Python practice exercises with sample code that kids can use as models for their own programs. Some of the challenges involve common programming tasks like working with files. Others challenge kids to write simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Hangman.
Curious beginners can start with the short, engaging Hour of Code tutorials. There are even unplugged (no computer needed) activities that teach coding concepts in the physical world. The Hour of Code tutorials are similar to the activities included in the CS Fundamentals curriculum. If you already have a coding curriculum but are looking to supplement it with some real-world experience, send students to the App Lab, Web Lab, and Play Lab, where they can design and share apps, websites, and games, respectively. Students can also play and remix games designed by other students, which is a great option for students who need some creative inspiration.
Elementary teachers looking to integrate coding into a classroom and secondary computer science (CS) teachers preparing for a new semester should focus on Code.org’s courses. Free and comprehensive, the curriculum includes detailed lesson plans, videos, handouts, offline activities, and online tutorials. Code.org’s curriculum is a good mix of online independent practice, unplugged group activities, and discussion. Using the teacher dashboard, you can assign lesson activities, monitor progress, and set sharing permissions. Each lesson is clearly tied to Computer Science Standards and assignments can be shared with Google Classroom. Teachers can get their own training on-site, too, plus a free in-person professional learning program.
In CodeCombat, kids learn to code in Python by playing a game. There’s no need for prior coding knowledge, but players start programming right away. The game provides easy instructions for writing code that moves a character around on screen. The graphics are as good as anything kids might be used to from other video games.
In this browser-based game, kids get a look at Python examples before attempting to complete “missions” with their own code. Most of the game is more text based than CodeCombat, but the problems in each mission can be quite fun to solve.
Nowadays most of the young children are interested in computer programming. So why not try to teach your kid the basics of programming using Python language.