Author Archives: nnn2112

Python Open Labs: April 23, 2018

Today was the last Python Open Lab of the semester – congrats to all of the students who have made it this far and picked up skills in a new programming language!

Over the course of the semester, we’ve been learning the basics of Python: how to initialize lists, create dictionaries, iterate through items, and define functions and classes.

The students wanted to see how programming could be applied to a specific problem and how it could be used to analyze existing information or data. I chose to design the last lesson around data visualization. We particularly focused on how to create visualizations using the seaborn library.

The seaborn library is a visualization library based off of matplotlib. It also has the capability to store datasets as dataframes, similar as to how pandas may store an external file. I have recently been exploring seaborn and already find it a very flexible and intuitive library. Borrowing concepts from a tutorial via DataCamp, we were able to create some very beautiful visualizations using only a few lines of code.

Check out some things we were able to make below!

a swarm plot displaying customer tip amounts

a facet grid displaying total bill amounts based on varying aspects of gender and dining time

a colored heat map displaying information related to airplane flights

Students really enjoyed using seaborn and some were even able to apply it to their own datasets. Lots of people were specifically fans of the swarm plots.

Yang Rui (left) and Elena Dubova (right) learning to master seaborn

If you’d like to follow the lesson for today’s class more closely, please click here for step-by-step instructions and enjoy coding things up in your favorite text editor.

Python has become a really popular programming language in the past years. I am glad to see more and more people taking the initiative to learn it and can’t wait to see the amazing challenges my students will take on in the future!

Navie Narula

Python Open Labs: April 9, 2018

We spent class today reviewing functions and how they work in Python. Students were given problem statements and were asked to write functions to return the correct output. We went over multiple problems, and I’ll step through one in this blog post today.

Imagine that you are given two inputs in the form strings: Jewels and Stones.

Jewels contain unique characters, while Stones do not.

Here is what an example of what these inputs might look like:

Jewels = “aA”

Stones = “aAAbbbb”

Students were asked to write a function to count the number of Jewels present in Stones. In the example above, the output would be 3 given that “a” and “A” are Jewels and that there is 1 of “a” and 2 of “A” in Stones.

Students in the class understood that functions must start with a definition and contain a return statement. What was more difficult to come up with was the syntax used to solve the problem within the actual function itself.

Students eventually came up with the idea to initialize a value to store a result and simply loop through the Stones string to check how many Jewels appear in the Stones input.

Here is how one might solve the problem in code using Python:

def countJewelsinStones(Jewels, Stones):

>>>>count = 0

>>>>for s in Stones:

>>>>>>>>if s in Jewels:

>>>>>>>>>>>count += 1

>>>>return count

We can see that the approach is not only simple, but also uses concepts we’ve reviewed in previous lessons such as conditionals and for loops. I am excited to see that many students in the class were able to solve this problem with little assistance and can’t wait to see what they accomplish next!

Navie Narula

Python Open Labs: March 26, 2018

Over the past few weeks, students have been learning how to iterate through items – whether they may be in strings, lists, tuples, or dictionaries. Students have mainly been using for loops to grab the value of each item, and lots of progress has been in regards to writing them with little to no instruction.

In this blog post, I wanted to go over two different ways to write for loops that I presented in class. One method uses the loop to take on the literal value of an item, whereas the other method uses the loop to take on the index of the item.

Let’s say that we have a list:

lst = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

If I wanted to iterate through the list such that my iterator takes on the literal value of the list, then I would write my for loop like this:

for item in lst:

>>>>print(item)

The output of this program would simply be:

1
2
3
4
5
6

If I wanted my for loop to instead take on the index value of each item within the list, then I would write my for loop like this:

for item in range(len(lst)):

>>>>print(item)

The output of the program would now be:

0
1
2
3
4
5

The only difference between this for loop and the previous one is the additional use of the keywords range and len, which allow the iterator to take on an item’s index value.

Note that using the for loop structure with these keywords also allow you to take on the literal value of the list when you index the list within the loop.

Here is example of what that looks like:

for item in range(len(lst)):

>>>>print(item, lst[item])

The output of this program is:

0 1
1 2
2 3
3 4
4 5
5 6

Writing for loops either way is acceptable, but it’s important to know which one might be most relevant to your program. If I were simply looking to add one to every item in the list and print its output, using the for loop without range or len is just fine. If I had multiple lists to iterate over that all happen to be the same length, I might want to incorporate the keywords to save time and efficiency in my program.

For instance, let’s say I had two lists that were of the same length.

animals = [“dog”, “bird”, “horse”]

nums = [2, 11, 19]

I would only need to iterate through one list to grab the values from both by using range and len.

Here is what that looks like:

for item in range(len(animals)):

>>>>print(animals[item], nums[item])

My output would look like:

dog 2
bird 11
horse 19

I hope you found this blog post about for loop structure and output helpful and are confident enough to know which ones to use in your own programs!

Navie Narula