Course Level
Knowledge Unit
Fundamental Programming Concepts
Collection Item Type

This classroom activity uses Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) to introduce students to Python. Students work in small teams to answer a series of questions. They run examples in a Python Shell and discuss the results. The instructor facilitates interaction among teams, offers guidance and encouragement, and summarizes key concepts.

Learning Objectives:
* Describe differences between program and output text.
* Identify and execute Python functions for input/output.
* Write assignment statements and use assigned variables.
* Leverage the prior knowledge and experience of others.


Divide the students into teams of 3 to 4. Give each team a copy of the activity sheet and the reflection form. Each team should also have two computers: one for running Java, and one for recording results. Briefly introduce the activity, assign student roles, and invite the teams to begin.

While students are working, you should circulate around the room, observe whether students follow their assigned POGIL roles, listen to how students discuss and think, and answer any questions they may have. You'll learn a lot about misconceptions, and you'll get to know individual students better. This personal interaction with the instructor can be a powerful way to encourage persistence in computing.

For more info on how to implement POGIL activities, see the EngageCSEdu Teaching Paper on POGIL. For more CS activities and community, go to the CS-POGIL website ( For general info, visit the POGIL Project ( Consider attending a 1/2-day, 1-day, or 3-day workshop to learn more about POGIL, how to effectively facilitate a POGIL classroom, and how to develop POGIL activities.

Engagement Highlights

POGIL is a structured form of collaborative learning that helps build an inclusive student community. Each student has a role (e.g., manager, presenter, recorder, reflector), and teams rotate roles each week. POGIL instructors are not passive; they circulate through the room, observe group processes, look for problems, offer encouragement, and pose questions to help students progress. These more direct interactions with faculty help build student confidence and professional identity.

Computer Science Details

Computer Science Topic(s)
variable assignment
Programming Language

Additional Details

Estimated Time to Complete

45 minutes

Material Format and Licensing Information

Creative Commons License

Author's Institutional Information

Institution Type
Liberal Arts Colleges (4 yr)