Fun Techtivities in August!

As Singapore eases the Circuit Breaker measures, we present more tech-activities to you. All of these don’t cost a cent, can keep your keen kiddos occupied and perhaps even inspire them to create more of such great tech stuff in the future!

Free Cirque du Soleil Shows

The world-renowned Montreal-based entertainment company and the largest contemporary circus producer in the world are on our screens! From aerial to 60-minute specials, behind-the-scenes and even workouts from the artists, catch it all on their YouTube channel.

Details:
Cirque du Soleil YouTube Channel
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


The Musical Time Machine

Choose the country and decade and the Radiooooo selects which song to play for you. From 1900s till today, pick your desired modes (shuffle, taxi, islands) and tempo (slow, fast, weird) and it will do the work of finding the song! Check it out here.

Radiooooo.com, The Musical Time Machine

Details:
Online
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


Top 10 shows/cartoons to teach children about STEM

STEM education focuses on educating students in 4 specific disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Allow your children to learn topics ranging from outer space to math and myth-busting – all with these awesome shows, recommended by our Coding Lab team!

Image of kids for Top 10 STEM shows for kids blogpost

Details:
Recommended by the Coding Lab team
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


That’s all that we have for this month’s techtivities! Read Hopefully, our online activities help tide you through the time spent at home. Use CODINGONLINE to get 12% off our online classes. We hope everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out virtual Disney World, world-renowned musicals with The Shows Must Go On, resources to educate your kids about Covid-19, and other July techtivities here!

Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020 Summed Up: Junior Category

We had almost a hundred responses spanning four continents who participated in our online Young Coders Global Hackathon. During the global pandemic, technology showed its prowess to transcend boundaries and unite individuals who displayed their creativity by coding around the topics of the coronavirus.

Catch the action that took place during the two months of intense coding!

From storytelling to games with multiple well-crafted levels, it was a difficult judging process to narrow down the Top 11. Our young junior coders then proceeded to the semifinals that were hosted LIVE on YouTube, where they had to present their Scratch ideas to the audience. They dressed up, did presentations and blew the judges away with their eloquence! Watch the action here.

Our seven finalists didn’t crack under pressure as they coded LIVE in our YouTube finals, which you can view here:

These young coders under 12 years old battled it out to be crowned the finalists of our Young Coders Global Hackathon! You can click on their names to find out more about these future leaders in technology.


1st Place: Thaddeus Aaron Chung

Age: 12
Singapore

12-year-old Thaddeus in action during the hackathon
12-year-old Thaddeus in action during the hackathon

2nd Place: Ignacy Kus

Age: 12
Szczecin, Poland

Photo of Ignacy, a sixth-grader from Szczecin in Poland, who is giving his prize to a child with financial difficulties.
Meet Ignacy, the sixth-grader from Szczecin in Poland who is giving his prize to a child with financial difficulties.

Hobbies: Programming (C++), mathematics (this week: hyperbolic geometry) and computer games are my hobbies. In my free time, I play video games (Roblox, Scrap Mechanic, Minecraft, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Doom).

How did you start coding? My first encounter with coding languages was when I attended a local coding club. I was six years old. I started to code in Scratch, Baltie and Visual Basic. Scratch and Baltie were quite simple but Visual Basic was hardcore for six-year-old me. I think it was good for me to start learning with something hard.

My father’s advice to younger me:

1. Never give up.
2. Try to create something that you want to play, use or watch.
3. Don’t think about the things that limit you.
4. You should focus on one thing and get to know it really well.

However, it is not important what you code, it is important that you code.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I am always looking for new opportunities to improve my coding abilities, thus I participate in many contests. Every contest is a real challenge and they motivate me to work. Let’s not forget about prizes… My parents and I find contests on the Internet, as was the case of YCGH 2020.

What have you learned? The most important thing in the competition was the possibility of meeting other coders and listening to them. I greatly enjoy meeting coders from all around the world. The foot trip from Szczecin to Singapore is 12,373km!

Future coding aspirations: My main aspiration is attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the future. I am focused on mathematics and algorithms (C++). In the future, I want to be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) game developer.


3rd Place: Wang Jun Min

Age: 11
Singapore

Photo of Jun Min, the 11-year-old who aspires to learn more coding languages.
Meet Jun Min, the 11-year-old who aspires to learn more coding languages.

Hobbies: Playing computer games, chatting with my friends and solving mathematical problems. I like to spend my free time doing my hobbies and exercising.

How did you start coding? I started with a holiday camp (Scratch 1) in Primary 1. After that, I practised trying out new blocks myself and making new projects. The following year, I attended Scratch 2, after which I was invited to join the Gifted Coders.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I like Scratch and the competition tests your ability to create your own Scratch projects and make interesting codes.  I love to code while using mathematics. I had been reading up about how the virus spreads and how fast it spreads, so I felt the hackathon theme was relevant to me.

What have you learned? I learned about perseverance. During the live finals, I accidentally deleted a big chunk of code which I had spent quite a long time doing. Instead of giving up, I calmed down and persevered and redid the whole chunk. It was also a great experience because I learnt more about coding from the other coders, and it was a chance to mingle with kids from other countries. I also learned how to work under the stress of time in the live finals!

Future coding aspirations: I’m planning to make more games and am currently studying platformers and how to make them more interesting.  I would also like to learn more coding languages because they may have more powerful capabilities than Scratch and are also more interesting. My future occupation will be coding-related – I would like to become a game designer. 


Merit (Best Storyline): Andrew Goh

Age: 11
Singapore

Photo of Andrew, the well-spoken 11-year-old.
Meet the articulate 11-year-old, Andrew.

Hobbies: I enjoy coding, playing tennis, reading, filming and creating content and animation for my school’s YouTube channel. When I am free, I like to learn new magic tricks.

How did you start coding? I watched my older sister code when I was 7 years old and I wanted to create digital games myself, so my mom enrolled me for lessons. I have enjoyed coding ever since.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I had been following the news on the pandemic, so I decided to use my coding skills and creativity to see if I could help people protect themselves from COVID-19.

What have you learned? As a coder, I have learnt that I can use my skills to create useful, timely and fun apps to positively impact people’s behaviour in uncertain times. I may even be able to save lives! I have also learnt the importance of design thinking as a planning tool to help me create programs that would solve users’ problems.

Future coding aspirations: Right now, I am learning more complex codes to hopefully create more challenging but useful programs in the future. My future occupation may be coding related – I can pair coding with robotics or AI to create/design something cool and useful.


Merit (Best Creative Project): Erika Tada

Age: 11
Japan

Photo of Erika, the creative 11-year-old.
Meet the creative 11-year-old, Erika.

Hobbies: Drawing and playing the violin. I like to play and make videos in Roblox during my free time.

How did you start coding? I started coding when my parents signed me up in the Coding Lab summer school when I was 7.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? Since most of my activities were cancelled [due to the coronavirus], I decided to try something new.

What have you learned? I learned how exciting a hackathon can be, and how it is like to code live.

Future coding aspirations: In the future, I would like to design apps, be able to code with Python or maybe make a game in Roblox.


Merit (Best Game Programming): Janson Soh

Age: 12
Singapore

Photo of Janson, the Robotics and Infocomm Club student.
Meet the Robotics and Infocomm Club student, Janson.

Hobbies: I like cycling and coding games. During my free time, I play my games on my phone, code games or cycle.

How did you start coding? When I joined the Robotics Club at my school, our teacher allowed us to play games. By chance, I saw a folder on the screen about a Scratch project. Later, I found out that it was made by a member of the Infocomm Club. Then, I became interested in coding. The next year, I joined the school’s Infocomm Club and that was where I started coding games on Scratch.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My mother informed me about YCGH. As I like coding and have never joined a coding competition, I agreed to join. It was fun and I really look forward to the next competition.

What have you learned? From my YCGH journey, I learnt how to code under pressure especially during the finals where I was given approximately an hour to complete a coding programme. It also helped me to improve my presentation skills.

Future coding aspirations: My future coding aspirations are learning how to make games on Unity. I am currently making a story mode game. After that, I would make a zombie survival game. In the future, I would want a job as a coder.


Merit (Best Game Design): Javen Lim

Age: 11
Singapore

Photo of Javen, the enthusiastic and bubbly young coder.
Meet the enthusiastic and bubbly young coder, Javen.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading non-fiction books and programming in Scratch and Python.

How did you start coding? My interest was sparked when I started Primary 1 and had Computer Lab lessons at school. I was fascinated when I found out that I could use keyboard characters to form graphics in Notepad. When my parents asked if I would like to attend Coding Lab’s holiday workshops, I readily agreed. There was no turning back. I Iater moved on to attending their regular classes.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My mum read about the YCGH and shared with me about it. I decided to join the YCGH because I feel that coding is important, especially in this modern age and I wanted to gain more experience in this domain and have some fun at the same time. 

What have you learned? A competition should not just be about winning, but more importantly, the learning process which allows us to improve ourselves. It was really interesting to look at other coders’ projects and compare it with my own, to find out which areas I could improve on. 

Future coding aspirations: I hope to learn JavaScript and C++. If possible, I would like to develop a social platform for sharing of educational content, discoveries and a place where geeks of a certain subject get together. 


This concludes our Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020. We would like to thank our participants from all over the world, and it’s been a joy getting together and collaborating with Coding Lab Japan. See you next year!

Read about the Senior Category’s Top 5 by clicking here.

Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020 Summed Up: Senior Category

We had almost a hundred responses spanning four continents who participated in our online Young Coders Global Hackathon. During the global pandemic, technology showed its prowess to transcend boundaries and unite individuals who displayed their creativity by coding around the topics of the coronavirus.

Catch the action that took place during the two months of intense coding!

The limits were endless with Python, and submissions were brimming with creativity and potential. Our top 10 young senior coders then proceeded to the semifinals that were hosted LIVE on YouTube, where they had to present their ideas to the audience. Watch the action here.

Our five finalists were neck-to-neck as they coded LIVE in our YouTube finals, which you can view here:

These young coders aged 13 to 18 proved their mettle to be crowned the finalists of our Young Coders Global Hackathon! You can click on their names to find out more about these future leaders in technology.


1st Place: Emily Ong
(Individual)

Age: 18
Singapore

Photo of Emily, the JC2 student from Dunman High's Robotics Club.
Meet Emily, the JC2 student from Dunman High’s Robotics Club.

Hobbies: I like to do computing or math-related things, and try to play chess and other action games. When inspiration hits me, I also like to solve some competitive programming problems.

How did you start coding? I started coding in secondary school probably through sites such as CodeCombat. From there, I was able to explore more things related to computing.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I heard about the competition from my teacher and decided to join the competition as it was socially meaningful and inspiring.

What have you learned? I have learnt a lot about presenting projects and am more receptive to feedback from other people. I did not manage to have the time to join online meetups, although it would be cool to know more about other people’s projects. Furthermore, I realised how it becomes more purposeful and applicable when we start to integrate technical ideas with real-life scenarios and other fields, such as Economics, in my project.

Future coding aspirations: I would want to learn more about math and machine learning, and perhaps game development.


2nd Place: Demetrios and William
Team Better Program Pending

Ages: 14-15
Japan

Photo of Demetrios, a member of Better Program Pending
Meet Demetrios, a member of Better Program Pending

Hobbies: I like to play video games and read.

How did you start coding? I started coding using Scratch 4 years ago.

What have you learned? I have learned a lot from coding as it was an experience to do new things in programming I haven’t done before, and I got to meet many other programmers from around the world. 

Future coding aspirations: Right now, I am working with my friend and former teammate, William, on a discord bot based on our chatbot.

Photo of William, another member of Better Program Pending
Meet William, another member of Better Program Pending

Hobbies: I like to program and play video games. My hobbies include hiking, building models and playing piano and trumpet.

How did you start coding? I started coding when I was 10, when I discovered Scratch, and really enjoyed it. I went to every Scratch club at my school. When I was 12, I started learning my first programming language Javascript.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I was informed by my Coding Lab teacher, and I was very excited to sign up and quickly asked my friend Demetrios if he could too.

What have you learned? I have learned how to better organise my code, and why it is very important to leave comments!

Future coding aspirations: Currently I am working on a bot for the popular platform Discord, which will join any server and manage it, as well as play music and some other cool functions. In the future, I would like to work as a developer for a game company such as Infinity Ward or work for the government on cybersecurity. 


3rd Place: Sriharsha Sikhakollu
(Individual)

Age: 15
Singapore

Meet Sriharsha, the tenth-grader from Singapore American School
Meet Sriharsha, the tenth-grader from Singapore American School

Hobbies:  I love to play soccer, invest in the stock market, code, and also play video games.

How did you start coding? I actually started to code when I was in 6th grade when my father signed me up for a summer coding program. Of course, it wasn’t a Java or Python course but it was the basics – Scratch. I was quite fascinated with how fun coding is and how simple it can be. Since then, I got started on my coding journey. I slowly progressed from Drag and Drop Programming to more advanced such as Python and some Java.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I was looking for something to do during quarantine as I was extremely bored. That was when coding came into my mind as I was doing some basic coding here and there in my free time. I remembered that I signed up for a class with Coding Lab a few months ago and just looked at their website for any upcoming programs and luckily there was a virtual hackathon happening.  I immediately signed up for it.

I saw the hackathon as a medium to improve my coding knowledge while also creating an application that will help the general public during the global pandemic.

What have you learned? From my YCGH journey, I would say the most important thing that I learned is, of course, more Python but also time management skills. During the phase where we code our own project and the final phase of the hackathon, I wish that I had managed my time over the weekends more efficiently so that I could have finished the project earlier. I was also quite amazed by other coders as all of them had brilliant ideas. Opportunities like the YCGH will allow coders like me to use coding to the best we can.

Future coding aspirations: Something I am interested in is entrepreneurship as well, so if I could do something which involves coding and entrepreneurship, it would be great.


Merit (Most Innovative): Ali Cevat ERÇAL
(Individual)

Age: 18
Turkey

Meet Ali, the 18-year-old inspired to code by LEGO pieces
Meet Ali, the 18-year-old inspired to code by LEGO pieces

Hobbies: I like playing video games and basketball. In my free time, I usually play computer games but sometimes I read books.

How did you start coding? I started coding when I was 14. It was a LEGO Mindstorms kit. I built a line following a robot by using LEGO pieces.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My dad found Coding Lab when he was surfing the internet, finding coding courses for me.

What have you learned? In meetups, I gained some friends and learned how to work under a time limit. I also expanded my Python knowledge.

Future coding aspirations: In future, I want to scale up my Hackathon project. I want to AI engineer in the future too.


Merit (Most Promising Young Coder): Kieran Ho
(Individual)

Age: 12
Singapore

Photo of Kieran, aged 12 and awarded the Most Promising Young Coder
Meet Kieran, aged 12 and awarded the Most Promising Young Coder

Hobbies: My hobbies are coding but sometimes I like to read books. In my free time, I usually read books that I like but sometimes I code.

How did you start coding? I started coding using Scratch when I realised that my friend was coding using that language. Out of curiosity, I decided to try it out too. My friend introduced me to the language, after which I decided to find books about it. In one of the books, there was also a tutorial on Python. I tried it out and found that it was fun – and that was how I started coding in Python. I was Primary 1 at the time, I think. (Been coding for 5 years now!)

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I decided to join the Hackathon after I found out about it through one of my coaches during a Python tuition session. I thought it would be a fun experience for me to try out – but little did I know that I would get this far.

What have you learned? All in all, this Hackathon has been a fruitful experience, albeit with many pitfalls and traps. The many sessions I have had helped me to steer clear of these traps and eventually become better, not only at my code organisation but also helped me improve my ability to solve problems using code. I have learnt more about the value of learning from one another, and as Coach Yong Ning stated: it is not the end result that matters, but the journey. I have met many experienced friends and coaches that have taught me many things, and I will be ever grateful to them for inspiring me.

Future coding aspirations: I am currently working on a program which solves the Travelling Salesman Problem using the Nearest Neighbour algorithm for fun, but I plan to try out other algorithms and time them. In the near future, I hope to make more coronavirus-related programs to help others and eventually perfect my Travelling Salesman Problem program.

In the future, I hope to pursue a coding-related occupation. I hope to learn more languages to expand my abilities more. I also hope to learn more about neural networks with Tensorflow and adapt it into a program in Python, or maybe even train one!


This concludes our Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020. We would like to thank our participants from all over the world, and it’s been a joy getting together and collaborating with Coding Lab Japan. See you next year!

Read about the Junior Category’s Top 7 by clicking here.

Fun Techtivities in July!

Phase 1 or 2? Whatever phase Singapore is in, our Coding Lab team’s techtivities will keep rolling in every month to give you ideas on inspiring technology and exciting things we can do from home!

Virtual Disney World

You don’t have to leave your home to experience the Disney magic now! 360-degree cameras and YouTube have brought Disney World to us. Don’t let the lack of a VR headset stop you – you can simply view from your phone and have fun spinning around to take in the great rides!

Details:
Virtual Disney World YouTube Channel
*Note: This is not an official channel by Disney
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


The Shows Must Go On

Peter Pan, Hairspray, Phantom of the Opera. These are just some examples of the show-stopping musicals that this channel brings to your screens every week. Indeed, all musical shows must go on – and they are – on YouTube!

Details:
The Shows Must Go On YouTube Channel
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


Father’s Day Coding Workshop (Ages 7 to 18)

Have loads of fun during our 2-hour workshop with some quality father-child bonding. We’ve got super exciting activities for all the different age groups to express their love and gratitude this Father’s Day!

Details:
Father’s Day Coding Workshop
Selected days in June
Online
To access it, click here.


You can use the promo code UNITEDWESTAND to get 10% off all our classes (limited time only) or SUPERCODER to get 12% off if you purchase two or more classes. We hope everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

Psst, our friends at EtonHouse has a bunch of free resources to help your young kiddos understand the virus and school interruptions that they are currently experiencing. This includes complimentary eBooks, printable activity sheets, and a home learning kit! Find out more on their website here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out Google Maps Treks, SSOPlayOn! and other June techtivities here!

Von Neumann, Torvalds, and Markov. What’s the story behind these esteemed scientists? Who are they and what significant contributions prompted us to name our rooms after them?

Room 1. von Neumann

After his work with the atomic bomb, von Neumann died of cancer at the age of 53. (Photo from Wikipedia)

We named our first room after John von Neumann (28 December 1903 – 8 February 1957), a Hungarian-born American mathematician and physicist who is known as “the last representative of the great mathematicians” [1]. His contributions include revolutionising aspects of mathematics and physics, economics, statistics, with roles in the invention of the atomic bomb, nuclear energy and digital computing [2].

A visual representation of what the von Neumann Architecture described. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

Best known for: von Neumann Architecture a.k.a. von Neumann model or Princeton Architecture [3]

  • Includes descriptions that form the fundamentals of modern digital stored-program computers
  • Proposed that there would be a processing unit (contains arithmetic / logic unit and processor registers) and a control unit (with the instruction register and program counter)
  • Suggested that there would be a memory unit to store data and instructions, external storage, and input and output mechanisms.

“Can we survive technology? … To ask in advance for a complete recipe would be unreasonable. We can specify only the human qualities required: patience, flexibility, intelligence.” [4]

Did you know? von Neumann was initially supposed to pursue Chemical Engineering – his father had discouraged him from studying Mathematics as he believed that it would not earn him much [5].

Room 2. Torvalds

Torvalds has an estimated net worth of US$150 million today – even though Linux is free [6].

Linus Benedict Torvalds (born 28 December 1969) is a Finnish computer scientist responsible for developing the Linux operating systems and free, open-source Git (the foundational software of GitHub) [7].

Tux, the penguin mascot and logo of Linux.

Best known for: Linux Operating Systems [8]

  • As a computer science student, he made improvements for Minix and UNIX operating systems
  • Unsatisfied, he created Linux and published the free source code online for anyone to make modifications
  • It became popular in the late 1990s and is now commonly used in China and other non-Western countries.

“In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny.”

Did you know? The passionate diver co-designed and developed Subsurface, a free and open-source software for logging and planning scuba dives [9].

Room 3. Markov

Until his death at the age of 66 from health complications, Markov taught probability courses at the University of St. Petersberg.

Andrey Andreyevich Markov (June 14, 1856 – July 20, 1922), a Russian mathematician responsible for number theory, probability theory, and the Markov Brothers’ inequality (with his younger brother and fellow mathematician, Vladimir Markov) [10, 11].

Algorithms based on Markov Chains are at work every time a search engine returns with recommendations of relevant webpages [12].

Best known for: Markov Chains [13, 14]

  • It’s a theory of stochastic processes, which is a probability theory of a process involving the operation of chance [15].
  • It tells you about mathematical systems that change from one ‘state’ (a situation or set of values) to another – with the probability of this transition.
  • Used in economics, game theory, queueing (communication) theory, genetics, and finance.

“Mathematics to a considerable extent consists in solving problems, [and] together with proper discussion, [this] can be of the highest scientific nature…” [16]

Did you know? His son, Andrey Markov Jr. (1903 – 1979), was also a renowned mathematician with notable contributions in topology, topological algebra, dynamical systems, theory of algorithms and constructive mathematics [17].

We hope that you have enjoyed our Unravelling The Mystery series and that we have piqued your curiosity into some of the greatest computer scientists and contributors to modern computer science! You can read about the faces behind our Parkway Parade Room Names by clicking here.

Fun Techtivities in June!

Looking for more things to keep you and your family occupied? Keep the curious sparks of your young techies’ minds alive with our online techtivities, inspiring and showing them the endless possibilities of technology during this Covid-19 period!

Google Maps Treks

Missed travelling and the great outdoors? From the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to the Amazon Basin in Brazil, you can now make your way around some of the world’s greatest sights with Google Maps Treks!

Details:
Online
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


SSOPlayOn!

Always wanted to attend one of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO) events? They’ve now gone digital, airing three to four performances in a week. This includes both old and new video and audio concerts, never-before-released recordings, live-streamed performances from musicians at the Victoria Concert Hall and the SSO’s Rose Studio recording facilities.

Sneak Peak: Beethoven's Choral Fantasy

We know you're all excited for Saturday's YouTube premiere of The Planets at 8pm, but don't forget the concert begins at 7.30pm with Beethoven's sparkling Choral Fantasy!Easiest way to remember: youtube.com/singaporesymphony – join in our livechat and countdown before 7.30pm, Sat, 2 May!

Posted by Singapore Symphony Orchestra on Friday, 1 May 2020

Details:
Until end of June
Online
Price: Free
To view the online events, click here.


Online Coding Camps

Want to engage in something productive or pick up a skill this month? Let your child learn coding from home this May Holidays! We bring our award-winning curriculum to your home, delivered LIVE by our tutors.

Details:
For the month of May
Online
To view the classes, click here.


You can use the promo code UNITEDWESTAND to get 10% off all our classes (limited time only). We’re missing bubble tea, eating out and going to gyms as much as you are, but just stay home and stay safe during this period!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out Harvard’s courses, NLB’s resources and other May techtivities here!

Meet 13-year-old Ziv. A creative and fast learner, he picked up coding when he was 11 and hasn’t looked back since. He was part of a team that won the code::XtremeApps:: (CXA) 2019 Hackathon (Junior Category) by IMDA and was in the Top 10 Finalists of the Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020.

Photo of Ziv with a sunset
A boy with geeky humour, the Yew Tee Primary School alumnus is now learning as much as he can about Python before proceeding to Java and C++ coding. Photo courtesy of Ziv.

Hi Ziv, how did you get started on coding?

Mum felt that I spent too much time on computer games, so she signed me up for classes and later realised that I have a flair for coding. I truly enjoy my lessons at Coding Lab and have since developed a passion for programming, aspiring to use my skills as a Game Developer or White Hat Hacker.

Ziv’s Mother added, “Frankly speaking, Ziv naturally fits into coding as he is good in Math and Science. He is now focused on his journey to becoming a Game Developer or White Hat Hacker, and I’m glad I made the correct choice when he was in P5.”

Note: White Hat Hackers are ethical hackers, using their skills for security to protect against threats or other hackers.

“Coding can be hard. … You should also commit your free time for coding so as to improve. Most importantly, you need to have a passion for programming.”

What do you like most about coding? Why?

What I like most is that I can do anything limited by only my imagination and knowledge. This means that I can do whatever I want, I can also do things that are impossible in the real world. So far, my experience at Coding Lab has been good. I learnt a lot of things on Scratch, MIT App Inventor, Micro:Bit and Python thanks to my mentors.

I am now learning Python, which is a big jump from all the other coding languages I’ve used. Simply because I have to type out all the codes instead of using blocks. Just an additional bracket could lead to a big error. Despite the big jump, I am able to learn most of the things thanks to the teachers’ guidance.

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

How did your Coding Lab mentors guide you for CXA 2019? What are your key takeaways from the competition?

We encountered a lot of problems, but thankfully, we were able to debug it. By applying what our Coding Lab mentors had guided us to do in our regular classes, we managed to overcome the glitches we faced. Most importantly I had lots of fun participating with the team!

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

Coding can be hard. You will learn how to debug and think logically. If you encounter problems, you should ask the teacher for help. You should also commit your free time for coding so as to improve. Most importantly, you need to have a passion for programming.

Ziv presenting his team's game to the judges at the CXA 2019
Ziv presenting his team’s game to the judges at the CXA 2019.

Ziv Lim, 13, is a Secondary One student at Zhonghua Secondary School. He started off with our Scratch 1 class in 2018, has since completed our ScratchYoung Computer Scientists and MIT App Inventor classes, and is currently picking up Python.

The Champion of the CXA 2019 and Top 10 Finalist of the Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020 is constantly seeking improvement with the goal of becoming a Game Developer or White Hat Hacker. His enthusiasm for coding is evident, going beyond what is taught in class, and continuously demonstrating his creativity and ability to think on his feet. We’re glad that such a bright young student like Ziv began his coding journey with us at Coding Lab!

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.