Problems and Solutions

The four sessions are described in detail in their lessons. Each lesson is a web page. You can access the webpages by clicking on the Lessons for the Students link. These webpages can be printed or you can tell students to start with the Lessons for the Students page if you don't mind them using a web browser.

Each of the problems in the handouts also has a solution that is provided here so teachers may refer to them while teaching the students. Feel free to share these with students if you feel it is needed but it is best to have the try these lessons on their own or with a little help first before they look at the solutions.


Sampling Computer Science

The numbers of students enrolling in Computer Science majors at the college level has been very low since the turn of the century. The reasons for this are somewhat mystifying to professionals in the field. In April 2006 Money Magazine ranked Software Engineer as the best career considering job growth, pay, stress levels, and other factors. So, it is unlikely the problem relates to bad press about Computer Science.

One possible reason that students are not interested in studying Computer Science is the stigma of it being something that is too hard for the average student. Learning to program a computer is really not that hard. One hope is that teaching middle schoolers to program may open their eyes to a potential career and help them prepare for it in high school and beyond.

Teaching middle school and high school students to program is also not that hard. The goal of this web site is to teach middle school and high school teachers to teach an introductory course on Computer Science. The idea is that problem solving in Mathematics is a natural bridge to problem solving in Computer Science.

Setting up a Lab

To begin teaching or learning how to program you need to pick a programming language and environment in which to program. The Python programming language is a very accessible language to learners and it is freely available on the internet. Installing Python on a computer is relatively simple. Complete directions for installing it on your school's computers or at home can be found here.

Lessons for the Students

Once Python is installed on computers at your school, the information provided here gives teachers a set of problems that students may work on to gain an understanding of how to use Python and how to solve some interesting and fun problems. The information presented here was designed to be used in four sessions each about one hour long.

If you find this website helpful, feedback would be appreciated. Any feedback may be directed to Kent Lee at Luther College.