This introductory camp teaches you to code in Python through a game of puzzle-solving. You do not need any programming background to join this class.
Every morning you will learn new programming concepts, get plenty of coding practices and then start solving puzzles. The Python game has five levels. In each level, you will solve problems, submit answers and climb to the next level. Discovering answers on your own is the most effective way to learn programming.
Our classes come with biology flavor. That means every day you will also get introduced to different biological concepts and see how your programming skills can be used to understand the living world. The biological themes for the days are given below.
Day 1 - Mushroom Hunters
Mushroom hunters go around the forests of Pacific Northwest to find delicious edible mushrooms. This activity is rewarding, but is also very risky. You must avoid poisonous 'death cap' mushrooms, or else.
Usually mushroom hunters apply visual identification methods to distinguish tasty mushrooms from the poisonous ones. Instead you will use DNA sequences to identify mushrooms more accurately and help a group of mushroom hunters.
Details: You will learn to use the search program BLAST, which is like "google for DNA sequence". Also you will be introduced to the basic Python coding concepts including 'print', numbers, characters, lists, dictionaries and the function 'range'.
Day 2 - Genome and Genes
Today you will learn Python concepts like 'for' and 'if' based on problems from the genomic world. You will solve small coding puzzles like counting the nucleotides, finding palindromes, etc.
Day 3 - Evolution and Molecular Clock
When you compare the genomes of two mammalian organisms like human and chimp, they look almost similar. The genomes start to differ as you go further apart in the evolutionary scale, but small units in the genome stay the same. Those small units are called genes, which "translate" into proteins. You will use your Python code to understand this biochemical translation process and see how distant organisms like bacteria and humans can retain the same genes even though the genomes changes substantially.
Also, as another fun problem, you will write code to check for login and password like all websites do.
Day 4 - Microbial Mysteries
We are surrounded by microbes, whether we can see them or not. In fact, our own body has more microbial cells than human cells. Today you will learn about this microbial world by using your Python code. Two main Python concepts you will learn are i) how to read external files, ii) how to use Biopython library developed for biological data. Also, you will start to use Linux operating system instead of the sandbox.
Day 5 - Human Genome
Today you will be introduced to the human genome and genes. This will help you get more practice with the Biopython library as well as teach interesting biochemistry concepts like introns and exons.