Circuit Breaker has been extended until June and school holidays have been pushed forward! Looking for more fun indoor techtivities that you can do with your kiddos? Fret not, here’s our curated list for the month of May!

DIY Learning with Harvard’s FREE Courses

Learn from the experts of Harvard University – one of the world’s top universities – for free. From Business to Medicine, Humanities and more, take up one of the 65 self-paced courses and walk away with a verified certificate (additional US$99) upon completion.

Screenshot of Harvard's page of free online courses
Screenshot of Harvard’s page of free online courses

Details:
Online
Price: Free
To access the courses, click here.


Read More with NLB’s FREE eResources

Since we can’t go to the library, the National Library of Singapore (NLB) has brought it to us. Choose from the vast collection of more than 600,000 eBooks, over 80 databases, along with 6,000 electronic newspapers and magazines in 60 languages, and more…

Screenshot of NLB’s eResources page

Details:
Online
Price: Free
To access the resources, click here.


Coding Workshops, Camps and Mother’s Day Special

Coding continues from home for us here at Coding Lab! Our usual term classes, now May holiday camps and even our Mother’s Day special mother-child workshop are all happening.

May Holiday Camps Promo

Details:
Online
Price: From $10

To view our term classes and May holiday camps, click here.
Our Mother’s Day $10 special can be accessed here.
Our $10 trial workshops are also running, which you can browse here.
Psst, our Easter parent-child workshop notes are also available for free download here!


We know that there can only be so much you can do while staying home, so here’s something for you: use the promo code UNITEDWESTAND to get 10% off all our classes (limited time only)!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our 5 Things To Do While Staying Home and other online April techtivities here!

Meet 11-year-old Leah. As champion at the code::XtremeApps:: (CXA) 2019 Hackathon (Junior Category) by IMDA, the Methodist Girls’ School student shares with us her coding journey so far – and how she intends to take it further.

Photo of Leah at the CXA 2019 Hackathon Presentation
Leah at the CXA 2019 Hackathon Presentation Ceremony. Photo from CodeXtremeApps.

Hi Leah, how did you get started on coding?

I started coding during a one-week holiday programme at Coding Lab. It was an activity to keep me occupied during the December school holidays since my family did not plan any vacation. Classes were fun, so I asked my mother to sign me up for more. My Coding Lab teachers are really helpful, especially when I don’t understand something or if there’s a bug in one of my codes. The lessons are really interesting because they are about the ever-changing world, like climate change and reducing pollution.

“The world has a big amount of coders making a difference in the world and I want to be a part of it.”

What inspires you to continue coding?

What I like most about coding is that I am able to make games and educate people about what is changing and how to deal with the changes around us. Many children like games, so they can have fun while learning.

Coding makes me feel like I am a part of the world, and that I’m not being left behind. The world has a big amount of coders making a difference in the world and I want to be a part of it. 

Photo of Leah on holiday, riding with huskies
Leah on holiday, riding with huskies. Photo courtesy of Leah.

Share more about a program you have created. What were some challenges faced when creating it?

I once created a Scratch project about cell division, but there were many challenges that I faced. I didn’t know how to start because I thought it was too complicated. Thankfully, I was able to complete it with some guidance from my teacher. 

“Coding might seem complicated at first, it’s fine to make mistakes.”

How was your experience at the Code XtremeApps 2019 hackathon like?

This competition helped me to learn how to work in a group and it made me more competitive as this was my first real competition. I felt well prepared with the classes that I had taken at Coding Lab where my tutors would guide us like mentors by constantly giving us challenges to code and solve. They are very encouraging and supportive! This helped us to win. I felt very proud of myself and my teammates when we won first place.

Leah's team, Eagle Eye, receiving their award
Leah’s team, Eagle Eye, receiving their award. Photo from CodeXtremeApps.

What do you hope to accomplish next in programming? 

I hope to make more cool games in the future for people of all ages to play. For example, Geometry Dash. I would code the looks of the obstacles, the colour and when the character jumps. I would want this game to be published on the App Store without any supporting website. I hope that my programming can help people with their needs and entertainment. 

Leah's ballet performance
The 11-year-old’s hobbies include dancing, where she participates in ballet performances. Photo courtesy of Leah.

What advice would you give to young coders who are new to coding?

Coding might seem complicated at first, it’s fine to make mistakes. Just know that your teachers are there for you and will be happy to help you in any way possible!

Leah, 11, is a Primary Five student at Methodist Girls’ School. She started off with our Scratch holiday camp in 2019 and has since completed our ScratchYoung Computer Scientists and MIT App Inventor classes.

After noticing her creativity in class, Leah was encouraged to compete in the CXA 2019 Hackathon. Her team emerged as the Champion, motivating her to take her coding to the next level. The outspoken young girl is always up for a challenge and we look forward to all her future coding projects!

Dijkstra, Feynman and Turing. What’s the story behind these esteemed scientists? Who are they and what did they do?

Djikstra 1

Room 1. Djikstra

Dijkstra died at the age of 72 from cancer (Photo from A.M. Turing Awards)

Our first room was named after Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (11 May 1930 – 6 August 2002), a Dutch computer scientist and pioneer of computer science [1].

What is Dijkstra's Algorithm? (GIF from Combinatorica)
What is Dijkstra’s Algorithm? (GIF from Combinatorica)

Best known for: Djikstra’s Algorithm [2]

  • Also known as the shortest-path algorithm
  • Finds the shortest way to move from one place to another 
  • The foundation for the recommended route feature on Google Maps [34].

“Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.”

Did you know? Djikstra was the first Dutch computer programmer [5].

Feynman 2

Room 2. Feynman

Feynman died at 69, after a long battle with cancer (Photo from Britannica)
Feynman died at 69, after a long battle with cancer (Photo from Britannica)

The second room was inspired by Richard Phillips Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1998) an American theoretical physicist and musician (known for his bongo-playing, made popular by Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory [6]) who worked on the first nuclear bomb [7] and investigated the crash of space shuttle Challenger [8].

What is the Feynman Diagram? (GIF from Medium)
What is the Feynman Diagram? (GIF from Medium)

Best known for: The Feynman diagram [9]

  • Won him the Nobel Prize in Physics 1965 for his work on quantum electrodynamics [10, 11]
  • A simplified visual representation of the mathematical expressions that describe the movements of subatomic particles that facilitates understanding, provides good approximations to reality
  • Contributes to many physicists’ evolving theories of particle interactions today [12].

“The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to… No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.”

Did you know? The Feynman Lectures on Physics from Feynman’s Caltech lectures is one of the most popular physics lectures, and are now available online for free.

Turing 3

Room 3. Turing

Alan Turing died at the age of 41 from cyanide poisoning (Photo from The New Yorker)
Alan Turing died at the age of 41 from cyanide poisoning (Photo from The New Yorker)

Finally, the third room got its name from the Father of Modern Computer Science, Alan Mathison Turing (he British computer scientist, mathematician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist also built the foundations of artificial intelligence and modern computers [13, 14].

An example of how the Turing Machine works (GIF from Gifer)
An example of how the Turing Machine works (GIF from Gifer)

Best known for: The Turing Machine [15]

  • A hypothetical machine with a tape of infinite length where operations are performed and could be used to simulate any algorithmic computation
  • The first concept of a ‘universal computing machine’ – that anything that is computable can be computed by one machine [16]
  • The predecessor of the modern computer that could solve complex computations; used basic data storage and symbol manipulation [17].

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

Did you know? The Imitation Game (2014) is based on a biography of Turing.

Hopefully, this gave you some insight into the brilliant minds behind our Parkway Parade room names! Next up, we’ll be covering the faces behind our King Albert Park Mall rooms.

Happy Easter Header

Coding Lab wishes all our parents and students Happy Easter! We had a whale of a time last Thursday, where 12 students attended our Easter parent-child online coding workshop.

Each parent-child pair drew and decorated their own set of digital Easter eggs, and programmed their bunny to respond to keyboard commands.

COMPLIMENTARY EASTER DOWNLOADABLE ACTIVITY

As a gift from the Coding Lab Team this Easter, the full workshop notes are available for you to download. We hope you will enjoy creating the game with your child.

Check out our students’ work here and do upload your games once you have made yours. Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Sunday! 2020
Happy Easter Sunday! Can you catch the eggs? Try it here!

Class in session
Class in session

Programming their Game
Programming their Easter Bunny Game

Some Participants at the Easter Parent-Child Workshop
Some Participants at the Easter Parent-Child Workshop