It takes a lot of brain power to code, and as the brain takes up about 20% of the body’s calories, it’s super important to eat the right foods to stay energised and healthy! The Coding Lab team has assembled the best list of brain foods that you can eat to keep those brain cells active – check them out below. 🧠💪

Image of Brain Food: Eggs

1. Eggs

A breakfast staple for many, eggs are a good source of several nutrients (like vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline) tied to brain health! 

The egg yolks in eggs are rich in choline, which is an important micronutrient needed by our bodies to help regulate mood and memory. The B vitamins that eggs contain also help to slow down the progression of mental decline, synthesise brain chemicals and regulate the sugar levels in the brain. 

If coding’s on your to-do list for the day, make sure to start it right – with a sunny side up!

2. Dark chocolate

Flavonoids present in the cocoa in dark chocolate are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Antioxidants are able to help prevent oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline as they damage cells in the body. In short, antioxidants often go hand-in-hand with anti-aging.

Dark chocolate is also known to contain less sugar than other types of chocolate, and with the presence of polyphenols – which help to improve insulin sensitivity – they help to control our blood sugar levels.

Now that you know the goodness dark chocolate brings, don’t forget to set aside a few bars for your next coding session! 

Image of Brain Food: Dark Chocolate
Image of Brain Food: Fatty Fish

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is abundant in Omega-3. The Omega-3 fatty acids are capable of building cell membranes in the body, like those in the eyes and the brain. Thus, they are able to improve our vision as well as the structure of our brain cells – known as neurons – which are vital in transmitting information between the brain and the rest of the nervous system. 

Read: 5 Tips to Better Eye Health

Foods rich in Omega-3s are also great for improving concentration and cognitive functioning, hence further enhancing your ability to process and think when coding!

Try out this recipe: Lemon Dijon Baked Salmon and Potatoes

Credit: AverieCooks

Ingredients:
• 8 medium sized (or 900 to 1130 grams of) russet potatoes, halved or quartered into 1-inch pieces
• 5 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 57 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• Four 170 grams skin on salmon fillets
• Fresh parsley (optional for garnishing)

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to ~220°C (425°F). Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminium foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray. Add the potatoes and evenly drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Evenly season with salt and pepper and toss with your hands to combine and evenly coat. Bake for 15 minutes or until potatoes are about 75% done.
2. While the potatoes are baking, in a small microwavable bowl, heat up the butter for about 45 seconds. Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and stir to combine; set aside. 
3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the potatoes to ensure even cooking. Add the salmon-fillets skin-down, evenly drizzle with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and nestle the potatoes around the salmon.
4. Evenly drizzle about two-thirds of the lemon butter Dijon mixture over the salmon fillets. Evenly drizzle the remaining one-third over the potatoes.
5. Evenly season the salmon with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon and potatoes are done. The salmon should flake easily and the potatoes should be fork-tender. 
7. Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately. Recipe is best fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

4. Berries

Berries are delicious to snack on and they’re full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. They’ll definitely give your brain a boost of energy – set a bowl of good berries next to you on your next coding session and you’re set for a productive time.

Some berries that you can easily get from your nearest market are:
✓ Strawberries
✓ Blueberries
✓ Raspberries
✓ Cranberries
✓ Grapes

Image of Brain Food: Berries
Image of Brain Food: Whole Grains

5. Whole grains

Whole grains are good sources of vitamin E which has powerful antioxidant properties. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect fats from oxidation, hence reducing oxidative stress on the brain! 

Some examples of whole grains include:
✓ Brown rice
✓ Oatmeal
✓ Whole-wheat bread
✓ Whole-wheat pasta
✓ Whole-wheat crackers

Got a few ripe bananas sitting on your kitchen counter? Whip ’em up into a loaf of delicious banana bread!

Try out this recipe: Easy Banana Bread

Credit: SimplyRecipes

Ingredients:
• 2 to 3 ripe bananas, peeled (about 160 to 192 grams mashed)
• 76 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 150 grams sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Pinch of salt
• 204 grams of all-purpose flour

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F), and butter a 4×8-inch loaf pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
4. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 175°C (350°F), or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Afterwards, remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing and serving.

6. Vegetables

Eat up those greens! Although different vegetables exert their effects on the brain through different mechanisms, they share the common trend of having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. An example would be cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts that contain compounds which can prevent oxidative damage and fight cancer cells!

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat those greens? We’ve got a trick up our sleeves for you. Check out this amazing cauliflower rice recipe below!

Image of cauliflower
Try out this recipe: Cauliflower Rice (Super easy!)

Credit: MinimalistBaker

Ingredients:
• Pine cauliflower

Instructions:
1. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower, then remove all the greens.
2. You can choose to either use a box grater or a food processor! If using a box grater, cut the cauliflower into large chunks and use the medium-sized holes of the box grater to grate into ‘rice’. If using a food processor, cut into small pieces and use the grater attachment to grate the cauliflower into ‘rice’.
3. Transfer to a clean paper towel and press to remove any moisture (that can make your dish soggy!)
4. You can enjoy your cauliflower rice cooked or raw! You can cook your cauliflower rice by sautéing in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover with a lid to make the cauliflower stems more tender! Cook for a total of 5-8 minutes and season as desired.
5. You can use cauliflower rice in recipes that call for rice – like fried rice! You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Uncooked cauliflower rice can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

We hope that these foods will keep your minds sharp and more focused when coding! Make sure to include them in your shopping list for the next time you go to the market and don’t forget to share this with your friends and family! 😉


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How do our Python Heroes perfect their craft? In our Python Perfect classes (S101P, S111P and S121P), we utilise an individualised learning method to ensure that students are able to fully internalise and apply the concepts that they have learnt. 

Coding Lab’s S100P is a series of Python Perfect classes taken by students who have completed the respective core foundational classes (Python 1: S101, Python 2: S111 and Python 3: S121). These classes ultimately promote independent studying and reinforce core programming concepts.

You might be wondering: what exactly is individualised learning?

Image of S100P class

The key ingredient of it is the shift of responsibility for the learning process from the tutor to the student [1]. The entire process involves students acquiring an understanding of their learning, being motivated to learn, and collaborating with tutors to structure their learning environment. Our students’ progress therefore depends on how motivated they are in learning and how much they want to achieve.

This method of learning does not mean that students are to work alone – tutors have a huge part to play as mentors in enabling and supporting individualised learning. They ensure that students are on the right track, motivate them and continually ignite their passion for coding through the wonders of S100P.

How do our teens benefit from Individualised Learning?

Our Python Heroes in our S100P series of classes hone their Python power with lab work. This lab work mimics practical modules in universities (which make up a high percentage of the overall grade!) – so if you’re looking to take on computing or Python in university, it’s important to get started early and lay those firm foundations! Our tutors also provide term reports for students to refer to so that they can better understand the areas they need to improve on and work towards nailing those concepts down. 

Every Python Perfect class has 10 levels of coding challenges – and each student will be mentally stimulated by the challenges at their individual levels. Our coding challenges hail from a wide variety of domains ranging from Banking and Finance to Engineering, Mathematics and even Medicine, enabling students to appreciate the applicability of Python in the real world

Students can advance as quickly as possible on their own with the effort that they put in, and also have 24/7 access to our online system to submit their answers to practice questions. Afterwards, our keen tutors will grade their questions and guide them in achieving code efficiency during class. 

Students can submit their answers any time on our online system!
Image of Python Perfect class
Always an enjoyable time in our S100P class!

“Another part of Python that I really enjoyed was Python Perfect which was basically coding challenges. I would work on different challenges each week, to devise a solution to the problems. I really enjoyed it and that kept my interest sustained.”

– Josephine, 14, Raffles Girls’ School

Our Python Perfect courses typically span across 40 hours (2 Terms of Weekly classes: 20 x 2 hours). Most students are mainly able to complete 6 levels in 40 hours, but there are also very dedicated students who fast tracked 10 levels in 6 hours – like Wang Chen! Here’s what he has to say about our classes:

“The classes are engaging and I was able to learn things like Stack Overflow, which further added on to my coding knowledge!”

– Wang Chen, 14, Dunman High

(successfully completed 10 levels of coding challenges in 6 hours!)

As students level up, the challenges gradually get more difficult. Our experienced Python Perfect tutors will help students to reach their fullest potential through giving out hints, providing them with help and guiding them through what they’re struggling with. A signature trademark of the program is that students are not given answers, they are encouraged to find the answers to the challenges on their own, enabling full understanding and application of concepts, self-confidence and independent learning.

Image of Ryan and class
Ryan (top left) with his Python students in an online class.

“In Python Perfect classes, students have to apply what they have learnt from the Python courses into the coding challenges. The more they practice, the better they get at coding! I’d often challenge my students to pen out their strategy before coding. I’d get them to go back to the basics and ensure the students revisit the fundamentals and thoroughly understand them.”

– Ryan Wong, Educator



Coding Lab believes that individualised learning will help in cultivating a spirit of lifelong learning in students – not only do our Python Perfect classes help students self-study the core programming concepts – it also reminds them that they are responsible for their own learning. When students own their learning, it sticks with them! 

Begin your Python journey by clicking here!


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Did you know that our students learn a smorgasbord of fun and interesting things in the wide variety of courses available right here at Coding Lab? We want to share the joy of learning with you too! 

Our Young Computer Scientists graduates holding their certificates
Our YCS students happily receiving their certificates!

With 12 different badges for students to collect and advance their coding abilities, it’s no wonder our P11S Young Computer Scientists (YCS) students always have a whale of a time learning and exploring the diverse fields that coding can be applied to (like Animation and Movies, Augmented Reality, Music, Robotics, etc) in our classes! 

Our YCS course – which is suitable for ages 7 to 9 – covers a good mix of 3 groups of classes (hardware-based learning, applied learning and subject-based learning) which will broaden students’ exposure and understanding of the power of computational thinking. 

Our hardware-based learning classes involve the use of unique tools like Micro:bit, the pocket-sized computer transforming how kids learn digital skills. Our applied learning classes teach students how coding can be applied – like artificial intelligence and machine learning! We’ve also got subject-based learning classes involving Maths, Physics and Biology, which will also pique students’ interests in coding as they get to reinforce what they’ve learnt in school! 

Check out these 3 ‘Did You Know’ facts that we share with our YCS students across their different classes – and make sure to pass on the knowledge to others! You know what they say, sharing is caring. 😉

1. Augmented Reality:

Augmented reality is a technology that overlays a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a blended image. 

In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his student Bob Sproull, created what is widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) head-mounted display (HMD) system at Harvard University [1]. Now, there are numerous applications of AR – like in the military, navigation, sightseeing, medical, entertainment, advertising and gaming! 

This advancement in technology has brought numerous benefits in education, one of them being further enhancing students’ visual and auditory skills as they immerse in a digital construction of their surrounding [2]. It makes learning so much more fun! In YCS’s Augmented Reality class, students learn to create AR games – just like this Piano one! 😎

2. Physics:

We all know that what goes up must come down. Gravity is the force that keeps us grounded on earth, and it is also this force that makes things fall to the ground. The bigger (and heavier) an object is, the stronger its gravity. The moon is 1/6 the size of the earth and thus the moon’s gravity is 1/6 of that of earth’s. This means that you can jump six times as high on the moon than on earth [3]!

In YCS’s Physics classes, students learn to create fidget spinners, spinning wheels and projectile motion games, among others… As they get acquainted with Physics by seeing how matter interacts with energy and forces, they’ll start to do higher-level thinking that enables them to see the big picture in the world around them [4]!

3. Artificial Intelligence:

Some of us are better at face recognition than others. In the last decade or so, it’s become apparent that around 2% of the population is born with a severe face-recognition impairment (known as congenital prosopagnosia) [5]. There is a similar proportion of ‘super-recognisers’ with unusually exceptional face-recognition skills, and the rest of us are on a spectrum in between.

In YCS’s Artificial Intelligence class, students get to dabble in machine learning to create a ‘face unlock’ system. It’s almost like they’re recreating Face ID! With an early understanding of this technology faucet, students will get to breed their creativity and develop their imaginations as they take a step closer to becoming a technology innovator.


Now that you’ve learned some cool information, make sure to spread the joy of learning by sharing this post with your close friends and family! 

Hop on board the Young Computer Scientists’ train – where we help to build your child’s aspiration of becoming the next future leader in technology!


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We’ve rounded up the 5 most interesting and engaging (in our opinion, that is!) tech podcasts and TED Talks for you to embark on an auditory tech journey! Calling all our parents, students, and teens – we’ve made sure that there’s something for you to listen to, no matter who you are!

Whether you’re driving your little techie to school in the morning, taking a jog with your pals, or simply relaxing at home in between homework assignments, easily keep up to date with current advancements in science and technology. The best part? Bonding with your child over his favourite activity and maximising the use of your time. Learning has never been easier. ☺️

We’ve shared our favourite episode for each selection (and we hope you’ll like them too!)

Happy listening and stay safe!

1. CodeNewbie

(available on their website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts) 

Image of CodeNewbie podcast

What it’s about: Stories from people on their coding journey. 

Code Newbie covers a diverse range of guests on their show – from web developers to UX designers, open source developers and many more! With the main target audience being beginners who are new to code, anything that’s very technical is explained simply. The podcast is not so much about how to code, but more about how to be a coder – it’s especially reassuring to newbie coders, with every episode reminding listeners that everyone has had to start at some point before progressing to success. 

Duration: ~30-50 minutes per episode 

Recommended episode: “How do you go from hackathons to building a hurricane relief business?” with Nick Feuer – This episode definitely brought back memories of our Young Coders Global Hackathon (YCGH) that took place earlier this year. It was truly a blast marvelling at all the brilliant ideas that our participants came up with!  

2. Learn to Code with Me

(available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or here

Image of Learn to Code with Me podcast

What it’s about: The podcast is hosted by Laurence Bradford, a self-taught techie who’s on a mission to help anyone who wants to teach themselves how to code. For each ‘Learn to Code with Me’ episode, she sits down for a chat with different amazing and inspiring individuals in tech. 

With captivating interviews and useful advice given in every episode, you’re sure to learn a lot about how to code as well as the basics of building your very own technology career! 

Duration: For Season 7: ~40-50 minutes per episode

Recommended episode: “Building a Robotics career and the impact of mentorship with Camille Eddy” – Having had internships with big companies like HP, Google and NASA, Camille is grateful to have been able to grow her career with the help of her mentors. We couldn’t agree more! An experienced individual by your side will help you grow to greater heights – just like our dedicated tutors at Coding Lab! 😉

3. Brains On! Science

(episodes available on Spotify or on their website)

Image of Brains On Science podcast

What it’s about: This award-winning science podcast from American Public Media is great for kids and curious adults! With its mission of encouraging kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history, every episode has a different kid co-host who joins in to find answers to the fascinating questions they have about the world. 

With over 100 episodes to listen to, you’re in for hours of endless fun and learning! 

Duration: ~30 minutes per episode 

Recommended episode: “Why does green mean go? And other colour conundrums” – This episode explored the primary colours red, green and blue – and how you can mix them together to get all the colours of light! Our wonderful Young Computer Scientists learn about RGB in their class (BOT: Robotics) too, as well as other fascinating topics like Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)! 

4. TED Talks by brilliant kids and teens

(watch them here)

Image of TED Talks playlist

What it’s about: This awesome playlist features kids and teens under 20 conducting their own TED Talks about science, music and other relevant topics. Be awed by the young and bright speakers as they talk about what they’re most passionate about – you’re certainly never too small to dream big! 

Duration: Ranges from ~5-20 minutes per talk

Recommended episode: “A 12-year-old app developer” – We’re reminded of our very own app inventors and computer scientists who always have a whale of a time in our classes. It’s amazing to see the endless possibilities once you learn how to code! 

5. Tumble Science Podcast

(available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or here)

Image of Tumble Science podcast

What it’s about: The podcast has episodes exploring a multitude of fascinating topics like volcanic eruptions and the physics of basketball. Now in its 6th season, Tumble strives to foster the love of science into listeners by bringing science to life through interviews with scientists on their process and discoveries. 

Suitable for the entire family to listen to, everyone wins as they learn a thing or two about the wonders of science. 

Duration: ~10-20 minutes per episode 

Recommended episode: “Building a Robotic Eel” – This episode had us all fascinated on Envirobot, a robot that moves through the water like an eel and also has special sensors designed to seek out water pollution! It’s truly amazing to see how tech is put to good use – in this case, tech helps us understand our environment better and assist us in finding solutions to problems!


Has your child started on their coding journey yet? How’s it coming along so far? In this #CodingLabParenting series, our tutors gather their top tips for you on how you can guide your child towards better learning!

We want to partner with you to ensure that your child’s learning experiences are the best they can be – especially if it’s coding.

From tips for meaningful learning to motivating, progression of knowledge and skills, and more… our students ultimately stay calm, code on and most importantly, have fun on their coding journey!

Let our beautiful infographics paint a thousand words.

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In this exclusive interview with the founders of Coding Lab, Yong Ning Foo and Candice Wang share some insights on how Coding Lab coped with the Covid-19 pandemic and some words of encouragement for the Coding Lab community! 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Coding Lab had to go through several changes, one of it being the transition to 100% online classes throughout the circuit breaker. The strong online learning system that we have built and tested (since 2019) enabled us to continue having fun and enjoyable classes for our students. 

Let’s hear from our dear founders as they shed light on how they managed Coding Lab during these extraordinary times. May we never be deterred from the challenges that lie ahead and keep on persevering to face them head-on! 


Image of Candice

Here’s what Candice had to say!

1. Hi Candice, how has Covid-19 changed things for you? Was it for the better, or for the worse?

Covid-19 is unprecedented and like the rest of the world, we had to adapt to it quickly.

Personally, I appreciate the time I got to spend with my family as well as managing the shift from offline to 100% online classes not only at Coding Lab, but also for my kids’ enrichment lessons. My 7-year-old attended our own online Coding Classes during this period, and was able to figure out how to use the different functions of Zoom. To my surprise, not only could she do that, but she was also able to confidently navigate her school’s Home-Based Learning exercises entirely on her own even though there were close to 8 different portals.

If anything, we shouldn’t underestimate kids.

They are more capable than we think they are. This is evident in the joy my daughter derived from changing her user ID or private messaging her teachers on Zoom and arranging online meet-ups with her friends. It is a lifelong skill that she can now take with her.

2. Everyone has had to work from home due to the circuit breaker. What has been done to maintain a strong company culture?

Communication via video-conferencing was fun and smooth – even across countries – so much so that we even organised our first 100% online Young Coders Global Hackathon together with Coding Lab Japan.

The Coding Lab team were all involved in this one way or another. If you look at the event credits, you will realise that not only the Educators, but also the Marketing, Admin and Enrolment teams all came together to make it happen. The teamwork was truly amazing!

We also organised a couple of group workout sessions so that everybody could stretch their legs and keep fit at home. We even recorded a song and dance together! Sure… we missed our regular lunches and snack time, and birthday celebrations had to be done via Zoom and home deliveries, but hey! It was the new norm and we embraced it wholeheartedly.

The most important thing was that everybody was safe.

3. What is your most valuable takeaway from this experience?

“When life throws you curveballs, we will emerge stronger and be thankful for the small things in life.”

Having the team stay healthy and protected at home while adapting our processes to ensure the safety of everyone involved was critical, and taught us a lot about adapting quickly.

We also found our own special ways to continually engage our students; whether it was via regular WhatsApp chats to follow-up with them or a competition where they could express their ideas on solving Covid-19 related issues, we stayed connected.


Image of Yong Ning

Here’s what Yong Ning shared with us!

1. Hi Yong Ning, how did you handle the challenges faced due to the Covid-19 restrictions?

We have been planning for this for quite some time, since January this year. It also helped that we had run online workshops for the region before, so the process was relatively smooth. 

2. What were the measures that Coding Lab had to take due to Covid-19?

The evolution of our processes started with Hybrid classes where we had a mixture of physical and online students (before circuit breaker), followed by 100% online (during circuit breaker), and now, a mixture again in Phase 2. 

Prior to that, we had invested in video-conferencing platforms, online practising systems, digital writing pads and other tools to make live teaching fun and easier for both our tutors and students.

“We spared no effort to build a strong and solid support system that provided our students with the avenue to give their feedback or review course material as often as they wanted.”

3. What are some of the significant changes that will be done to come back from this better and stronger?

Our online learning system was put to the test when we conducted thousands-strong seminars for the region for the Shopee Code League as well as various workshops with Smart Nation Singapore

We also understand that many parents and students enjoyed the classes very much and have requested for their child to continue their lessons online. We are excited and happy to announce that we will be launching Coding Lab Online (Permanent) classes*.

*for selected modules only

4. What is your most valuable takeaway from this experience?

“Be prepared, plan ahead, and have a strong team to support and execute decisions quickly. “

All of these are critical in ensuring that the experience of our students remains consistent and of a high standard. 

5. Do share with us a few words of advice/final message for the Coding Lab community!

Thank you for your support throughout this period. It means a lot to all of us. We hope you will enjoy using the materials and systems we have built and we look forward to welcoming you back, be it online or physically. Thank you!

Sarah will be starting her first year as a Computer Engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) – which is ranked #18 globally for computer science subjects – on a 4-year scholarship! Read on to find out how she managed to achieve this incredible feat. 

Image of Sarah Go

From our previous interview with Sarah Go in 2018, we got to know about how she clinched the Honourable mention at the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) within just less than six months of learning how to code! Fuelled by her passion for coding, Sarah spent her winter holidays as a student tutor volunteer at Coding Lab to inspire the next generation of coders.


Q: Hey Sarah, it’s been a while since our last interview with you. Congratulations on getting a scholarship to UT Austin! What were your feelings when you first got to know about the scholarship?

Sarah: I was definitely very happy! Initially, I wasn’t expecting a scholarship because I was applying as an out-of-state student to UT’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program. 90% of spots are reserved for in-state students, and UT’s ECE program is considered prestigious in the US. So even admission is very competitive – not to mention a scholarship! – and this knowledge makes me feel incredibly fortunate and grateful to my school as well. 

Q: What did you do to ensure that you stood out from the rest of the other applicants?

Sarah: There were many other qualified applicants, and even the admissions committee can’t specify what ensures an applicant will receive a scholarship.

I didn’t have to go for any interviews or submit any additional materials as I was automatically considered for a scholarship with my application to UT. I can say that I put a lot of effort into maintaining a good academic record and producing quality work in school, especially in my research projects.

And outside of school, my extracurricular activities – particularly my experience in Coding Lab, which I wrote about in my college essays, certainly contributed as well. 

Image of Sarah Go and student
Sarah as a student tutor volunteer explaining a concept to her student.

Q: What were the Coding Lab classes that you took and how have they brought you to where you are now?

Sarah: I took the Python Meets Mathematics course and honestly if I didn’t take that course I wouldn’t even have chosen ECE as my major! I went into Coding Lab as a total coding newbie and honestly was feeling quite ambivalent towards coding when I went to my first lesson.

I found the course material accessible and easy to understand, and I got to use the programming knowledge I learned in fun mathematical applications right from the start.

At the end of my first lesson, after just a couple of hours, I was so enthralled with coding that both my parents and I were surprised! But beyond the course material, what truly sparked my interest in coding was my teacher Mr. Yong. He’s an incredibly dedicated teacher, and his guidance and enthusiasm towards coding not only made me look forward to every lesson but, three years later, has ultimately motivated me to go into computing in college and maybe even as a career. 

Image of Sarah Go and her class
Sarah and her bright students!

Q: How do you plan on making the most out of your time, now that things have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Sarah: Well, like many other students around the world, I am pretty much stuck at home this summer due to Covid-19. Fortunately, there are so many readily available resources be it educational and recreational on the internet that I have hardly been bored! I’m reading ebook versions of classics that have always been on my reading list, and have also been self-studying Chinese. I have also stuck to my goal of learning at least one new computing-related thing every day, which has definitely helped keep me busy and productive. Today, for example, while doing some problems I encountered a neat algorithm called the Boyer-Moore Majority Vote Algorithm. While reading about the algorithm, I learned that it was a UT professor that co-invented it, which is super cool!

Q: What are you looking forward to the most when you start university?

Sarah: I really look forward to meeting other students at UT; not only ECE students who share the same interest in computers as me, but also other students in different majors, all of whom have very diverse cultures and backgrounds. I also look forward to meeting professors at UT, who have done amazing work in their fields! As for my classes, I’m quite excited about learning more about the hardware aspects of computing, because I’ve really immersed myself in programming these few years. I believe these aspects of my university experience will be a real eye-opener for me. 

Q: Any words of advice for budding programmers out there?

Sarah: My first advice to budding programmers is, honestly, to keep coding! That may sound kind of silly, but coding is one of those things where the best way to learn is by doing, or in this case, programming. Every time you learn something new, grab some problems or projects off the internet – or maybe think up something yourself – and create a program to try it out! I also think it’s good to keep challenging yourself. Sometimes, easy programming problems can be tempting, but you learn the most from hard problems – problems that seem complex and maybe even beyond your abilities.

By continually pushing your boundaries, you’ll expand your knowledge and eventually problems that you once found difficult will become doable.

And also – it’s completely fine to encounter difficulties and spend hours debugging a program. Just keep in mind that coding is a lifelong journey, and like a rollercoaster ride, while there may be ups and downs, it’s a lot of fun as well! 

Have you ever wondered what are the opportunities unlocked for your child after learning how to code? With the right foundation and guidance, children will grow to be confident and creative problem solvers as they apply math to real-world situations. They can apply the knowledge they’ve learnt to not only their programming projects, but also to areas like lighting for animation, the making of MacBooks and many more!

Here are 5 tech geniuses whose early exposure to coding has brought them to where they are today – these successful individuals have brought much change in the digital transformation of the 21st century. Read on to find out more about them! 🔍


Danielle Feinberg (Pixar Animation Studios)

You have probably watched Danielle Feinberg’s work on the big screen without even knowing. The Director of Photography for Lighting at Pixar Animation Studios [1] was in charge of coding the lighting in well-loved movies like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles and many more that you watch with your kids! Yes you read that right, these animated movies could not have been made possible without coding [2]! 

Since young, Danielle had always been in love with math, science and code. When she was 10, she got the opportunity to join a programming class where she got to program photos on the computer – and this experience left her absolutely fascinated! Growing up, she continued to attend summer camps and after school programs for students interested in computer programming and engineering. 

Afterwards in Harvard University, she was introduced to computer animation in her first year as a Computer Science student. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, her love for art, coding and creating things propelled her to work at Pixar – where she discovered her passion for coding in the lighting department. 
Outside of Pixar, she inspires and encourages girls who have interest in STEM through groups like Girls Who Code.

“The idea that all the math, science and code that I’ve been learning, could come together to create these worlds and characters and stories I connected with, was pure magic for me.” – Danielle Feinberg in her TED Talk: The magic ingredient that brings Pixar to life


Jack Dorsey (Twitter)

Who wouldn’t be familiar with the term ‘tweet’? There are about 6,000 tweets uploaded every second – messages that allow users to express themselves in a short and snappy way. We definitely would not have been able to tweet if it weren’t for Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter. 

Having had a huge interest in city infrastructure and transportation when he was a teenager, Jack started learning how to program on his own so as to understand how the city works [3]. 

When he was 15, he wrote dispatch software which would then remain in use by taxicab companies to manage the logistics of their dispatch for decades afterward. Inspired by his dispatch work and the instant messaging services that were growing popular at that time, he came up with the idea that would become Twitter. 

After pitching his idea to a Silicon Valley company, he then went on to code the prototype with the help of another programmer in just two weeks. From only having 5000 users in 2006, Twitter now has 330 million monthly active users to date [4]. 

Though his journey had its fair share of ups and downs, Jack stayed dedicated and developed his skills to become the programmer and businessman that he is today. Aside from Twitter, he now also runs a company called Square – a form of mobile payment that is used in multiple countries worldwide. 

“My goal is to simplify complexity.” – Jack Dorsey


Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

When was the last time you bought something from Amazon? Have you ever wondered who was the genius behind it? 

Well, it’s none other than Jeff Bezos! 

As a child, Jeff was curious about how everything worked – he especially had a particular interest in computers. When he was 10, he stayed after school hours with his friends to tinker with a computer and taught themselves programming from books. This experience inspired a lifelong love of invention. 

Immersed in the world of technology, Jeff took part in the NASA high school initiative and went on to major in Computer Science at Princeton University. Upon graduation, he worked as a coder and even ventured into the realm of wall street before starting Amazon on his own [5]. 

Jeff first started off with selling books on the e-commerce website. As sales rocketed and the years went by, Amazon jumped into new markets and started offering products other than books like music, video, and holiday gifts. 

The Amazon today has become a dominant player in the worlds of e-commerce, digital streaming and artificial intelligence. Thanks to Jeff’s relentless efforts, Amazon has become many users’ one-stop destination for almost anything and everything. 

“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” – Jeff Bezos


Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, you can easily stay connected with your friends and family on Facebook – be it sharing a post that you found funny, sending a message to a loved one or even playing an online game with your friend! 

At the tender age of 10, Mark’s father introduced him to a computer and together, they wrote a program that allowed all the computers between the house and his father’s dental office to communicate with each other [6]. Soon, Mark was studying with a programming tutor, reading his first book on programming and even made games out of his friends’ drawings. 

His hunger for progress didn’t stop there. Mark went on to pursue a degree at Harvard, where he built a site in his sophomore year called CourseMatch – a site that lets students choose classes together. Afterwards, social networking site Facebook was born – a site which would then continue to grow into the giant that it is today. 

From building Facebook in his humble beginnings (his Harvard dorm room), Mark now has a Facebook headquarters based in California and is now running the site with over 48,000 employees. While he has a lot on his plate – like raising his two daughters and running his company – Mark ensures that he is productive and balanced. For the many hours that he has to work, he also dedicates time for family, leisure and exercise. 

Although Mark had been offered millions and billions of dollars for Facebook, he would often turn such offers down. Did you know that he has walked away from such deals for at least 11 times [7]? His vision of where he wanted Facebook to be made him dream big and never settled for less. 

“My goal was never to just create a company. It was to build something that actually makes a really big change in the world.” – Mark Zuckerberg


Bill Gates (Microsoft)

You probably know Bill Gates as the one who founded Microsoft – the world’s largest personal computer software company. When he was 13, his school was one of the first in the country to get a computer terminal. From there, he spent his time playing with it and fell in love with programming [8]. 

“Exposure from a young age to the realities of the world is a super-big thing.” – Bill Gates

His first software program was done when he was still 13 years old – the popular game of tic-tac-toe. When he ran out of money to pay to use the school computer, he got around to logging into it as the system operator so as to get around the time limit [9]. 

Still in high school, he and his friend Paul Allen started a traffic counter startup known as ‘Traf-O-Data’, but the company eventually went under. This failure, however, did not dissuade Bill but instead taught him the value of combining programming and business together. With the lessons he had learnt from his first startup, Bill went on to start Microsoft – his most successful venture to date. 

Due to Bill’s guidance and perseverance, Microsoft has become the well-known multinational technology company that it is today. Although Bill is no longer its CEO, he remains one of the largest individual shareholders of Microsoft. Aside from this, he now chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation.


It’s amazing to learn how all these techies discovered what they loved to do when they were young, and then continued to pursue and become the successful people they are today! 

If your child is interested in learning something, let them learn – who knows, your child might just be the next big thing in it!

Kids these days are always brimming with excitement and have so many questions about almost anything and everything. The moment you step into your house after a long day at work, they’d greet you with the burning questions they have about something they have learned or experienced throughout their day. 

Their questions could range from “What is that?”, “Why is that happening?” to “How does that work?” Well, we’ve made things easier for you with our specially curated picks of STEM shows that we believe kids would absolutely love.

STEM education focuses on educating students in 4 specific disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The integration of these 4 disciplines enables children to learn more than just science and mathematical concepts – children are also able to develop a variety of skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and many more!

You can now do your own chores or take a short break while enabling your children to learn topics ranging from outer space to math and myth busting – all with these awesome shows! Check them out below! 


Ages 4-6

These shows are great for curious minds as they help stimulate creative thinking and imagination and prepare your kids for school!

1. Blaze and The Monster Machines (STEM)

Rating:  ✭✭✭✩✩ (Common Sense Media) 

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Blaze and the Monster Machines

This animated series revolves around a monster truck and human driver duo, Blaze and AJ, as they have adventures in their city and learn about various STEM concepts like buoyancy and trajectory which help them along the way. Take note mamas – with delightful visuals and captivating tunes, this show is sure to pique your child’s curiosity in learning STEM!

You can watch their episodes and clips for free on their official YouTube channel or on Nick Jr’s website

2. Ask the StoryBots (Science, Math) 

Rating:  ✭✭✭✭✭ (Common Sense Media) 

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: StoryBots

Your child can easily learn scientific concepts in a fun-filled way with the StoryBots! The colourful StoryBots live in computer parts and they help kids find answers to their ‘big questions’. Come and join their exciting adventures as they explore questions relating to Science, Math, Geography and more – with the use of vibrant animation and songs!

StoryBots is available on Netflix and you can view their episodes and clips on their playlist on Netflix Jr’s YouTube account. 

3. Helpsters (Technology, Engineering) 

Rating:  ✭✭✭✭✩ (Common Sense Media) 

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Helpsters

This educational Sesame Workshop series is about a crew of puppet monsters, led by Cody, whose business is solving problems big and small by using the concepts of coding. The Helpsters teach critical thinking and pre-coding concepts so that children learn how to address challenges of any size and simplify them in order to find solutions. 

Your child will be able to catch teamwork in action and also gain important lessons in self-confidence and effective communication!  

The series can be watched on Apple TV+ or you can view clips of their ‘Helpsters Help You’ on their YouTube playlist

4. Earth to Luna! (Science)

Rating:  ✭✭✭✭✭ (Common Sense Media) 

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Earth to Luna

The series features Luna, whose passion for science prompts her exploration of the world with energy and enthusiasm. Together with her little brother Jupiter and pet ferret Clyde, Luna pursues answers to her questions about what things are, and why and how scientific actions take place. Children are sure to bob their heads to the captivating songs in the show and have fun joining in her explorations! 

Watch Luna get excited about Science on the official YouTube channel

5. Numberblocks (Math) 

Rating:  ✭✭✭✭✩ (IMDb) 

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Number Blocks

Numberblocks follows the adventures of cute block characters in Numberland, with the number of blocks determining the numeral they stand for. The characters can even transform into other numbers – for example, the characters 3 and 2 can combine to create the character 5! 

The show helps children learn numeracy skills and ensures that they get a good exposure to early mathematical concepts. That’s right mamas, you can truly count on this show to teach your children simple maths!

You can view their episodes and watch live streamings on Numberblocks’ YouTube channel


Ages 7 and above

These shows are great to reinforce what has been learnt in school and would definitely deepen your child’s interest to learn more about STEM-related concepts!

6. Mythbusters Jr. (Technology, Engineering) 

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✩ (Common Sense Media)

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Mythbusters Jr

A spin-off of the popular TV show Mythbusters, Mythbusters Jr. hosts young talented kids, who bound together to tackle myths using chemistry, physics and popular culture know-how. The show will definitely entertain the young ones with its small-scale experiments that they can do in their kitchen! 

You can view clips of the series on their playlist here or watch it on Amazon Prime Video

7. Odd Squad (Math) 

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✩ (Common Sense Media)

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Odd Squad

In this series, the Odd Squad is an organisation entirely run by children who use their math skills to solve the problems posed in every episode. Now in its third season in 2020, they travel around the world to solve mysteries with their math skills. Children can join in on the fun and learn to solve problems using addition and subtraction, as well as the importance of communication and perseverance! 

You can watch the first 2 seasons of Odd Squad on Netflix.

8. Our Planet (Science) 

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✩ (Common Sense Media)

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Our Planet

Narrated by the renowned David Attenborough, Our Planet is a beautiful docuseries that can be watched by the entire family to learn about the amazing species of wildlife and their survival methods. Children will also be able to learn about topics like climate change and its effects on the environment. 

Though the series is a smart pick for family viewing, parents should be advised that the show contains scenes like predators’ hunting prey. 

You can watch Our Planet on Netflix!

9. Annedroids (Technology, Engineering) 

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✩ (Common Sense Media)

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Annedroids

The show features eleven-year old genius and kid scientist Anne, who loves to solve problems using her expertise in engineering and computer programming. Throughout the series, she happily shares her knowledge with her friends, who join her in exploring the possibilities of science and solving scientific problems with real-life solutions. 

The show incorporates many scientific concepts in each episode, and is sure to inspire children’s interest in the STEM subjects! 

You can watch all four seasons of Annedroids on Amazon Prime Video.

10. Xploration Outer Space (Science) 

Rating:  ✭✭✭✭✭ (Common Sense Media)

Image for Top 10 STEM Shows Blogpost: Xploration Outer Space

Xploration Outer Space exposes kids to STEM concepts as they relate to space discovery. The show encourages children’s curiosity about related subjects as it tackles a range of questions from the fun “How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space suits?” to the philosophical “Could there be life on other planets?”.

The topics that are touched on will make parents want to tune in as well, making this a smart choice for curious families! 

All five seasons of Xploration Outer Space are available on Amazon Prime Video

Lynn Kiew is one of our dedicated educators with a passion for teaching and a love for numbers and solving challenging problems. 

At Coding Lab, she seeks to excite students in programming and empower students to excel through technology. Read on to find out more about this amazing educator!

Lynn with her students in a Home-Based Learning class!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I graduated with Distinction from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a Bachelor in Mathematical Sciences. I really enjoy learning and teaching Mathematics and always thought that I would be a Math teacher in the future… I never imagined myself teaching coding to children! Given the fact that I had some difficulty in computer classes when I was in secondary school, and had to seek help from the partner beside me (haha!) But look at me now – a coding teacher! I guess when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade?

2. Wow, it’s interesting to learn that you had difficulty in computer classes – how then did you start teaching kids coding?

I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher because I love being in the company of students and to know that I have positively impacted their lives! Back when I was in NTU as a Math undergraduate, Computing was one of the compulsory modules that I had to take. To my surprise, I came to love the subject and discovered that I have a flair for it.

I guess it’s thanks to my early exposure during my secondary school computer classes – it really did me well! In hindsight, I believe that it’s due to the early struggles that I went through during those classes that have really helped me and eased my learning for university. I also like how Computing requires some form of logical thinking and practice, which can be challenging, and I’m always up to solve challenging problems!

Lynn conducting an online class via Zoom.

3. What motivates you to teach?

The moment when students get the eureka moment ‘Aha!’. It’s really satisfying to see students understand what I have taught. The smiles on their faces make me forget all those moments when I was pulling my hair out because they forgot a simple concept. Also, their cheeky antics definitely bring joy to my life – 82.75% of the time. 

4. Describe how a typical class would look like – what would we be able to see and hear?

Ask any of our teachers, and they will all be raising their hands and FEET in agreement – ‘TEACHER HELP! MY CODE HAS AN ERROR!’ You have no idea how many times we hear this in one lesson. But with that, we train and teach our students the concept of TRYING! We don’t simply just run to them to provide them with the solution but we let them explore and attempt to solve the error by themselves first, before providing hints and guidance.

Lynn assisting her students in class.

5. In your opinion, how would kids benefit from learning how to code at a young age?

Coding helps to train children’s problem-solving skills (which is useful for their Mathematics in school) in a fun and exciting manner! There is no one way of solving questions, thus it exposes them to think out of the box and find different ways to solve a problem. With the rise of the digital age, we can see how AI is becoming more and more popular these days – hence, coding will really give a head start for young learners.

6. How do you keep track of your students’ learning progress?

Educators at Coding Lab keep track of our students’ progress with our online system – students use it to submit their work between classes for us to grade, and from there it informs us of their level of understanding of the topics taught. We are also always in close contact with our students’ parents – we have a WhatsApp group for every class to send parents a brief summary of the topics covered, the homework required and address any other concerns after every lesson. Parents are always kept in the loop and updated about their child’s progress!

For me, I always provide a target for my students in every class – of course, every student’s target is different. Once they have met it, I will definitely give praise when it’s due. However, for students who are falling behind, I will nudge them and provide feedback to their parents if needed.

7. What has your experience with Coding Lab and teaching coding been like?

It has definitely been an enriching journey, with a lot of learning, testing and experimenting with new things! I am also glad to know that the Coding Lab team has my back – they have made work more enjoyable and memorable! Coding Lab truly has a nurturing environment where we are constantly giving and receiving encouragement. If you have been a part of Coding Lab’s team, you would definitely have remembered using this word constantly – “GREAT!”, it’s just a common word that our team always uses that has become sort of a catchphrase for us.

8. What are some words of advice that you would give for children/teens who have just started learning how to code?

Lucky you, you have made the right choice to start coding! The process is definitely not going to be easy – there will be lots of ups and downs, but NEVER GIVE UP! The joy when you finally see your program running without any errors is going to be AMAZING!

Just like how I initially faced some difficulties with computer lessons, I later realised that it was my calling – hence I believe that students should be exposed at an early age as it would definitely be beneficial and ease their learning in the future!

9. What are your interests/hobbies outside the classroom?

I watch a lot of Korean dramas – ask me any, and I would probably have struck them off my list. Other than that, I started to pick up crocheting during the circuit breaker period! I must say it’s a really good pastime and it’s really satisfying to see the final products that I have created. I made a few pouches and cute keychains (which I can ‘bribe’ the students in the future…)