[Edu-sig] experiences teaching Python with turtle graphics?

Ernesto Costa ernesto at dei.uc.pt
Fri Nov 17 15:07:42 CET 2006


I used xturtle in a CS1 course for students with little  or no  
previous knowledge about programming. Of course they are not kids and  
so I use it just to illustrate some simple programming concepts. It  
is a nice tool but be prepared for some limitations (IMHO). In  
particular if you are thinking  about applications where you have to  
input data it is just impossible (at least I could not find a way of  
doing it from the manual). Anyway you can do nice things with the  
onClick() and onKey() methods.

Concerning books what I've done is to rely on the old, but very good  
book, by Abelson and diSessa "Turtle Geometry" (MIT Press) and  
translate the logo code to Python.

There are other old books on Logo, including some with nice small  
programs, that you can also convert to Python.

Returning to the question of a "good" module about graphics. I'm  
using Zohn Zelle's book for my course. It has a interesting and  
simple to use graphics module. It would be nice if that module could  
be "merged" with xturtle i.e to incorporate a turtle class that use  
the graphics canvas :-)!

Ernesto Costa

On 2006/11/17, at 03:30, Andy Judkis wrote:

> I'd really like to do better.  I'm particularly interested in using  
> Gregor
> Lingl's xturtle library.  I know that versions of turtle graphics  
> have been
> around for various environments for a long time but I've only  
> started to
> look at it, and it seems like it should be a lot of fun.  More  
> specifically,
> it seems like if it is used wisely, it should appeal to more of the  
> kids for
> a longer period of time, and still provide a platform for getting  
> across the
> concepts.
> Does anybody out there have any specific experience with teaching  
> Python to
> this kind of audience using turtle graphics?  Are there any books  
> or lesson
> plans available that you can recommend as a starting point?  As a  
> point of
> reference, the first time I tried to teach Python I thought that the
> Livewires course would be perfect but I quickly found that, as slow  
> and
> gentle as it seems to an experienced programmer, it moves way too  
> fast and
> has way too little hand-holding for most high school kids.

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