Learn Python for Kids with the STEM Club
Trust in the Lord with all of thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Our church app was built by someone in our church. I wanted him to speak to how coding had helped him to help his church and to further the kingdom. He had this to say: “I would say that learning how to code not only helped me advance in my professional career, but also allowed me to apply that knowledge to make a difference for my church. I was able to help meet a need by creating a way for people not only in our city/state, but around the world to connect with our church in a way that wasn’t possible before. I am thankful for the ability to use this talent to help further the kingdom, made possible by learning how to code to write programs and applications.” – Joshua Douglas
We all walked into the STEM Clubhouse. Our Dad was already inside erasing the whiteboard. Then he started writing these words: WHY ARE YOU HERE?
We all sat down on a rug in front of him, ready to hear what he had to say. Then he began talking with intensity in his voice.
“Andre what do you enjoy doing? Marie how about you? Who here likes to build, to draw and to design. Maybe you take joy in explaining things to others or writing. WHY ARE YOU HERE?” Dad asked.
“If you are gifted in building, maybe you should be a mechanical engineer. Or if you excel at drawing and designing, perhaps architecture is in your future. If you enjoying explaining things to others, being a teacher could be your calling, and if you love to write, maybe you should explore being an author,” Dad said very warmly.
“Being each of those things can be very rewarding, but as YOU explore career choices, I want each one of you to ask yourself, WHY AM I HERE? As a child of God, our goal should be to endeavor to make a big part of our lives building up HIS KINGDOM. As an engineer, you could help with putting together infrastructure while on a mission trip. As an architect, you could design churches. As a teacher, you could teach Sunday School to kids or do home Bible studies. As an author, you could write Sunday School literature. My wife has informed me that you all are about to start to learn how to write computer code. As you learn to code, you’ll receive more training on how to be a problem solver. In God’s kingdom we need inviduals who are problem solvers and are ready and willing to put their shoe laces on the ground and WORK. I encourage you to endeavor to be SCHOLARS ON FIRE for the LORD!
We received that encouragement on Monday. Tuesday, we started learning how to code. Meet the STEM Club. I’m Abigail. I’m the newest member of the STEM Club. The other members are Annaliese, my sister, Andre, my brother, and our friends Marie, Tommy, and Bella. Our goal is to learn, create, invent, and build to help others. Our next endeavor is to learn how to code. Will you learn with us?
My sister Annaliese started the STEM Club years ago, and since then the club has helped many kids with problems they have. So many kids write to us and email us, that my Mom suggested that maybe we should have an app that people could use to communicate with us on, a place where we could provide STEM lessons for other kids who wanted to learn how to be engineers as well, and a place where kids could play games as they practiced being engineers. We want to learn how to build our own app some day, so we’ve started learning how to code in python, and our Mom is teaching us!
“Marie, can you tell us about some of the basic data types?” my mom asked.
“Umm, strings and integers,” Marie said uncertainly.
“Ok, yes, can anyone tell me the other two data types we talked about yesterday?” Mom asked.
“Floats and booleans,” I shouted out enthusiastically. “The four data types you taught us yesterday were strings, integers, floats, and booleans.”
“Great, Abigail. Can someone give us examples of each type?” Mom asked.
“Strings are anything in quotes, whether they are words, numbers, or characters. So for example ‘hi’ is a string, ‘My name is Abigail.’ is a string, and even ‘7’ is a string. Examples of integers are 0, 5, -3, 100. Examples of floats are 1.5, 20.2, -0.25, and booleans are True and False. And they MUST begin with a capital T or capital F,” I rattled off.
The rest of the STEM club members looked at me astonished.
“How did you remember ALL of that from just one lesson Abigail,” Annaliese asked me as she looked dumbfounded.
“As Mom was teaching yesterday, I drew some pictures to help me remember what she said. Then later that evening I colored the pictures and the lesson stuck!” I said grinning.
“See here is one of my pictures. I drew a picture of a cartoon character TYPE, and in my drawing other cartoons are lined up and TYPE is telling each one of them what they are. See here, he’s telling the cartoon 5 that he’s an integer. This helps me remember that I can use type to get the computer to tell me what data type I have,” I said as I showed the other kids my drawing from yesterday.
“What did you draw to help you remember how to create a valid variable name?” Andre asked me.
“Ok, so I drew a factory scene with variable names coming down the conveyor belt. Variable names like 19age, and age*, and age$ have a REJECT stamped on them while the variable name age, and age19, and age_19 have accept stamped on them. So that helps me to remember to NOT to start a variable name with a number and NOT to include characters such as * and $. On the other hand I know that I CAN include the underscore and numbers, but that the variable can’t start with a number.” I said.
“Ooh, I have an idea. I can draw a refrigerator with the word VARIABLE on the freezer part, to help me to remember that we create variables to STORE information that we want to be able to recall later,” Bella said excitedly.
“I’m going to draw the print function as a cartoon with big hands who likes to hold stuff. His hands are parentheses. This will help me to remember that if I use the print function, I need to use parentheses,” Tommy said.
“Oooh, I know what I’m going to draw,” Anna said. “I’m going to a string meeting the * character and the string multiplies.”
“So for our next programming lesson, everyone remember to bring crayons, markers, and paint,” Mom said energetically.
- If you want to make a comment, first put a hashtag sign.
- Be able to determine between an integer, float, string, and boolean data type.
- Remember, when dealing with a string, use quotes.
- Python is case sensitive.
- You can use the print function to output something. Don’t forget to use parenthesis.
- We can create a variable if we want to store information to be recalled later.
- We can add strings together using string concatenation.