Introduction to Programming teaches students how to program using Python, a standard language used in professional engineering environments and also the language required for the Python AP® test AP Computer Science Principles. Students will learn not only how to write code, but also how to analyze a problem logically so as to be able to plan out and troubleshoot a program which solves the problem. Although there is some game development in the latter half of the course, the overall focus of the course is on solving mathematical and physical real-world problems using computer programming techniques with particular emphasis on concepts which are interesting and worthy of study for their own sake. Examples include finding the value of pi, calculating projectile trajectories, finding prime numbers, binary representations of primary vs secondary colors and their use in image analysis, making and breaking secret codes, and investigating the Golden Ratio. Object oriented programming is introduced and used extensively in the second half of the course. The final weeks of the course are devoted to an independent study project in which the students use their new skills to program a robot.
This course is suitable for students with no prior programming experience – all programming concepts and techniques used within the course are introduced and demonstrated prior to their use by the student – however it is expected that students are already familiar with basic geometry and algebra. Either Windows or Mac computers may be used; however the instructor will be using a Windows pc.