Pre-Class Bootcamp


This is optional but suggested.

We do work in this class by writing python code, and the application we use is called JupyterLab. Getting everything going on your computer is quick.

  1. Install python and JupyterLab by following steps 2 and 3 on the setup page of the textbook. (Some links on this page aren’t active until the semester is about to begin.)

  2. Write and run your first python code in JupyterLab: Watch and repeat the steps from 3:52 to 5:50 in the video on the setup page.

  3. Get a little more familiar with JupyterLab:

  4. Learn about and write some python code. Pick one of the courses below. Time spent watching the videos, typing out code in JupyterLab and running it on your computer, and trying problems has a high ROI.

Work through a free python startup class

Neither class below uses JupyterLab, but all the code they write can be written in JupyterLab. Try to do that!

  • After you write code in JupyterLab, to execute/run it: Hit the play button at the top, or use the shortcut: ctrl+ enter (on Mac: ⌘ + enter)

  • To add a new block/section of code so you can try to work on a new problem: Hit the plus button at the top, or use the shortcut: ESC then B.

  • For tips on using JupyterLab, revisit this short video.

  • If you get stuck, just make a new JupyterLab notebook file to start fresh. Don’t be afraid to create a lot of messy files at this point.

  • It’s okay if you can’t solve every problem while you’re working on these on your own.

Pick just one of these. Either will do! (Sadly, I can’t help you choose; I have received N=1 recommendation for each. Flip a coin?)

Both cover the essentials and will leave you more than ready to take this class. If you cover all of the suggested material for one class, you’ll be in great shape. If you only cover some of the below, you might still be fine: Every semester, about 30% students begin with zero python experience. A few drop, a few excel, and the rest make it work.

People like this because it’s free, has 1-3 ten minute videos per topic, and also has where you see the instructor work through exercises.

Start here.

  • Cover topics

    • 3 (variables)

    • 4 (conditional expression)

    • 5 (functions)

    • 6 (loops)

    • 9 (lists)

  • For each chapter,

    • Watch the videos and try to type code from the videos and run it in Jupyterlab. The more the better!

    • Click on the “references” link for each chapter. The bottom of each has a few exercises to try. Try them in a JupyterLab file.

    • If you click login, you can take the quizzes and do one question per chapter

  • Optional: Chapter 7 (strings)

Start here.

  • Cover topics

    • 0 (functions, variables, and more)

    • 1 (conditionals)

    • 2 (loops, lists, dictionaries)

  • For each chapter,

    • Watch the videos and try to type code from the videos and run it in Jupyterlab. The more the better!

    • “Notes” for each chapter is a concise doc containing some of what is in the video.

    • Each chapter has several problems. Try to solve them!

  • How to start the first problem set: This is the page for the first problem set. Skip all of the steps and just click on the first problem, “Indoor Voice”.

    • Read the prompt (first section at the top)

    • Since you’ll do the problem in JupyterLab, ignore the “before you begin” stuff

    • Go look at the demo. That is what should happen in JupyterLab if you do it right: You’ll run the code you make, it will open a prompt, you’ll type “HELLO, WORLD”, and then it will print “hello, world”

    • Work until your code achieves that

    • Similarly for subsequent problems