Learning Math and Science Using Python

In 1980 Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms suggested that everything meaningful in math education could be done using a computer. Mathematics teaching has yet to take full advantage of modern technology.

Python should be in the toolbox of every student right from the beginning of algebra, not only because it makes arithmetic trivial but because it can facilitate deeper exploration of topics ranging from algebra to calculus.

In this presentation we’ll see how Python can be used to clarify difficult topics high school students are faced with in math and science.

Unlike outdated skills like factoring polynomials, working with functions is more valuable than ever thanks to computers and Python in particular because (forgive my oversimplification) in Python “everything is a function.”

High school math and physics courses also demand a knowledge of vectors, so more teachers should take advantage of the 3-D possibilities of Visual Python to model situations using vectors. It will be shown how physical situations otherwise involving disheartening differential equations can be modeled and easily solved in VPython. Furthermore, conjectures which were previously difficult to prove in physics can be easily created and visually proven by high school students with a little Python.


Peter Farrell has been a high school math teacher and tutor on the East Coast and the West Coast and even on the Equator. He’s currently a STEM Instructor at four Summit Charter High Schools in the Bay Area through Learningtech.org 

*This is a Bay Area Python Interest Group (BayPIGgies) organized event. Please also see their web page: http://baypiggies.net/

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  • James N.

    Hi all. The video from this talk can be found here: http://youtu.be/HfvQ6O7Di0g

    1 · December 31, 2013

  • Arsenii

    I am a beginner in Python. Is this an event that would be good for beginners or individuals that already have some programming experience.

    December 17, 2013

    • Glen J.

      We have a pretty good mix - beginners and advanced

      December 19, 2013

    • Glen J.

      Did you find it helpful as a beginner in Python?

      December 20, 2013

  • Glen J.

    It was a great approach on how to use Python as a tool to make math and science more accessible. I greatly enjoyed the approach.

    December 20, 2013

  • Darshak K.

    Hello, could you put up the agenda? Wanted to know when would the actual talk start

    December 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, I can't make it tonight. Hopefully someone else can get my seat in time.

    December 17, 2013

  • Don

    Has anyone recorded the event? It would be nice if a video is available. Thanks!

    1 · December 15, 2013

    • James N.

      Hi Don. I'll be there to film this talk. It will be available on the BayPiggies YouTube channel shortly after the meeting. Here's the link to our channel: http://m.youtube.com/...­

      3 · December 15, 2013

  • Grant

    SQA Engineer learning Python.

    December 5, 2013

    • Rupesh C.


      December 13, 2013

  • sai k.

    looking forward for the meeting. Really interested in learning python

    1 · December 11, 2013

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