Lesson 1: Beginning to Program in Python
In this module we introduce writing functions in Python using the convenient Spyder development environment. The lesson begins with instructions on installing the popular Anaconda distribution of Python, which includes Spyder. It continues by showing how to use the editor in Spyder to type in a function and then run it. Each lesson alternates between introducing a concept by example and having the student test his/her understanding by constructing a function similar to that example. The module lecture is contained in a single program source file named Exercises1.py. This file, which should be downloaded by the student at the beginning of the module, contains the complete lecture except the solutions to the ungraded exercises. The student should work each of these before viewing the instructor’s solution. By using the unique capability of Spyder (using IPython Notebooks), the program file is segmented into cells each of which can be executed independently of the others. Thus the student does not have to manage multiple program files and finishes with a lecture file with filled-in student exercises that can be used for reference. Python topics included in this module are print statement, arithmetic operators, input statement, combining of strings, if statement, while loop, and for loop. The module ends with a series of small functions to write to be submitted for grading. Grading is done by custom software and should normally take only minutes with no limit to the number of re-submissions. Hopefully, you’ll finish with a perfect score.