So, your teenager is thinking about coding. It’s a great age to start learning, but where should one begin when there are so many options? Many would say the answer to that question is Python, a popular text-based programming language. There are numerous online courses, tutorials, and books dedicated to Python education, a number of which will be highlighted in this article to help you get started with Python for teenagers, including some free Python resources.
Explore Python for middle school and high school students
Middle and high school students are at a great age to start programming. Let's jump into coding for teens with the programming language Python.
Python is one of the most widely-used programming languages in the world. In fact, recent studies show it is the third most popular language in the world. This widespread popularity is due to a number of factors, including Python’s simple syntax, its extensive libraries, and its use in a variety of applications, which help to make it a good language for learning programming. Many major companies use Python, including Google, Facebook, and Instagram, so it’s a great programming language to learn for real-life applications as well.
One of the best ways to learn Python online is through live, guided classes. In this setting, students can work with experienced teachers that are able to answer questions during the learning process. Guided classes also have a structured curriculum that organizes content into a logical, well-paced flow that minimizes frustration. Read on for examples of a few Python courses.
Join free Python classes for teens
These classes are great for Python beginners looking for a place to start.
If you’re looking for a fun introduction to Python, Create & Learn’s Python for AI intro is a great place to start. This free, expert-led course helps students create their own animation with Python’s turtle graphics module. And for students who enjoy this first class, they can continue on the progression to four more levels of Python courses!
For students who prefer a hands-on, self-directed approach, Trinket.io has a free Hour of Code curriculum for Python. It’s a crash-course that touches on loops, conditional statements, functions, and objects, all through the lens of Python turtle graphics.
Udemy offers top-notch courses in many programming languages, and their Python courses are no exception. This Python course is intended for people without prior Python or programming experience. This course features over an hour and a half of free lecture videos that serve as an excellent starting point for the newly-initiated coder.
Best Python classes for teenagers
The best Python courses for teenagers are a good mix of independent work with teacher interaction. And they have curriculums designed by experts from the technology field, so that the skills students learn are applicable to the real world.
A great example of this is Create & Learn’s Python for AI class, designed by experts from Google, Stanford, and MIT. This course features four units, each with four seventy-minute classes. Each class has a different game or project for students to tackle, with a gradual progression of complexity between each class. Students also have extra exercises they can work on between classes to practice the ideas they were taught.
Some of the best classes also guide students through building new skills progressively, minimizing frustration by layering in new concepts thoughtfully. For example, with our learning pathways, by the time students have completed Python for AI, they'll be equipped to begin learning Data Science with Pandas. Pandas + Python is a powerful combination that will help your child understand the foundation of Data Science and explore an exciting field.
One of the best ways to practice Python is by making games! In another Python course we offer, Pygame: Space Mission, teens can learn the basics of Pygame, a Python library for creating 2D games. Students will find out the basic tools used to create a game in Python code, ending up with a working game which they can share with friends and family!
Free Python exercises and tutorials for students
Once students have been introduced to the basics of Python, they can practice those skills with exercises like these!
This chatbot exercise is a great introduction to Python’s “random” module, as well as loops, I/O, and string manipulation. Plus, students are free to be creative with their chatbot’s responses to user input!
Lists are one of the first data structures that Python beginners need to learn. The concept is relatively simple, and sets up the foundation for more advanced data structures to come.
For loops are a critical concept to understand in programming, as they are used in virtually every program. This is a great tutorial because it gives students examples to try in a variety of scenarios, from lists to strings and more.
For students who have been working with Python for a few weeks, it may be worthwhile to experiment with the “pandas” library in Python. Pandas (from the words “panel data”) is used in data science for data analytics. It has professional applications in the real world; however, it can absolutely be learned by students as well. Check out this intro to see if your student would be interested in this field of computer science!
Python games for beginners
Creating games is a great way to develop coding skills. Games test students’ skills with conditional logic: what condition makes a player win, or what makes them lose? It also forces students to think about how users interact with their code. For instance, what happens if a player types letters instead of numbers in a game? For those who have never coded a game before, learning how to code a game in Python to make the Hogwart’s sorting hat can be a good intro. Another game to try making is the 21 Game, which is essentially a guessing game versus the computer.
Python books for teenagers
For teens who learn best with supplemental instruction or prefer reading to acquire new skills, here are some Python books to explore.
Beyond teaching the basics of Python, this book introduces students to the concepts of white-hat hacking, web design, and debugging. By exploring these different subject areas through Python, students can learn what field of computer science they may want to explore deeper.
For students looking to take a more math-focused approach to Python, this book is a useful resource. It focuses on algorithms and problem solving as opposed to syntax. Trig functions and plotting are also key topics in this book, which is helpful to students going into STEM fields in general.
Creative Coding in Python takes a different approach, offering students a wide range of projects to experiment with, rather than cut-and-dry instructional material. Students with an interest in game design or art would enjoy the opportunities for creativity this book presents.
Get started with Python for teenagers
Whew, that’s a lot to take in! Here’s a quick recap to send you off with:
- Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, and is commonly used to introduce students to programming
- Instructor-led courses offer a structured approach to tackling Python that can help build confidence and ensure you progress swiftly
- Students with an independent streak may prefer to work through tutorials and exercises in addition to classes
If you’re still not totally sure where to begin, Create & Learn’s award-winning free Intro to Python AI course is a popular starting point. Happy coding!
Written by Create & Learn instructor Dominic Occhietti. Dominic is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he studied music performance and computer science. He thoroughly enjoys teaching, whether that be coding classes, French horn lessons, or even downhill skiing lessons!