Our superstar coder and University of Texas (Austin) scholarship recipient, Sarah Go, is also featured! She talks about her experience as a female in STEM and how her parents and environment has helped her to excel. Read her blog features here and here.
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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. 🧠💪
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
Try out this recipe: Cauliflower Rice(Super easy!)
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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Our previous Did You Know? from our Young Computer Scientists (YCS) series let many of you wow your friends with your knowledge. We heard you! We have decided to bring back more fun facts – this time from our Advanced Computer Scientists series.
In the P21S Advanced Computer Scientists (ACS) course, our 10-to-12-year-olds can collect 12 different badges. Each badge allows them to delve into diverse fields of application for coding, from UI/UX design experience to Game Development and Math, just to name a few.
The ACS programme spans three main types of learning – Hardware-Based, Syntax-Based and App Development. Upon completion, our students would have had hands-on experience with bots and be well-versed in writing real-world apps and programs that they can use to help others.
Without further ado, check out these 3 ‘Did You Know’ facts that we share with our ACS students in our award-winning curriculum – and make sure to pass on the knowledge to others! 😉
1. Role Playing Games
What defines a Role Playing Game (RPG)? It is a game where a player takes on the role of a fictional character in a fictional world – fantasy being the common thread. Most RPGs have character growth and advancement, coupled with an entrancing plot that immerses players into the lore and the world of the game . A good RPG is balanced, will keep gamers hooked for hours, and leave a lasting impression.
For the more mature gamers out there (like your parents, teachers, and maybe even yourself), big names like Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, and more old school games come to mind when they think of RPGs. Now, we have more recent or remastered titles such as the new Doom, Divinity Original Sin 2, Monster Hunter: World and The Witcher 3.
In Python Choose Your Own Adventure, our ACS students learn about RPGs. They get to code their character creation, equipment upgrades and boss fights. Classes also touch on game design topics, like balancing their games. This refers to tweaking a game to be interesting, deep, and fair . Game balance affects battles and a person’s progression in a game.
Imagine being stuck on the tutorial and unable to level up? What about reaching the maximum level in 2 hours and there is nothing else for you to do? RPGs with the level and experience system usually make starting levels easier to level up and almost impossible at higher levels. Without balance, people will quickly get bored of the game.
2. Global Positioning System
When modelling an app after Healthy 365, our ACS students learn about UI/UX design and tap on the many different sensors found in our phones. Do you know how our phones are able to find our location or track our number of steps?
We’ve all heard of GPS. The Global Positioning System (GPS) used to be a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the United States government . When the project was initiated, the 24-satellite system became fully functional in 1993 and was used to perform trilateration to pinpoint your exact location on Earth. Trilateration measures distance. Your position would be determined by the intersection of multiple intersections of GPS signals .
When it comes to tracking our steps, Abraham Louis Perrelet is the brilliant mind behind the pedometer . Through the years, multiple improvements have been made to the pedometer. From the ancient versions using mechanical switches to the current day’s implementation with Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors and sophisticated software.
3. Quiz Gameshow
Come on down, it’s time for the quiz gameshow! Our ACS students get to code their own quizzes and learn more about programming, such as extensibility and the incremental build model. We also include fun facts, like this one… Legend has it that “quiz” is actually a very recent word created in the late 1700s. The story behind the word is a bizarre one and here is how it goes.
A wager was made in 1791 by Richard Daly in Dublin. He wagered that within 48 hours he could make a nonsense word be spoken throughout Dublin, one with no meaning and not derived from any language. He sent his employees to go around Dublin chalking the word “Quiz” everywhere and soon this word became the talk of the town which meant that Daly won the bet and this caused the word to become commonly used.
Of course, this story is not 100% factual and there are many sources that dispute the truth of this story . So for now, let’s just say this is a folktale – and an interesting one too.
Now that you’re armed with all of this cool information, spread the joy of learning by sharing this with your friends and family!
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?
The key ingredient of it is the shift of responsibility for the learning process from the tutor to the student . 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.
“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.
“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!
Stressed about your upcoming O Level Computing papers? We’re right by your side in this final lap with analysis of past year papers, tips and guidance (and interactive questions to test your knowledge) straight from our Lead Educator Mona Tan, who conducts our O Level tuition programme.
As a subject that just began with 2017’s Secondary Three cohort, we know that there aren’t that many resources or information out there for you to tackle your Computing papers. Our team has therefore scoured the net (and much more – so you won’t have to) to compile this list of essential information to aid you in your Computing paper. With multiple subjects and other exams to manage, here’s how you can make the most of your time and be ready for the Computing exam on 2 November 2020!
1. Know your papers!
As the old adage goes, “The man who is prepared has his battle half fought”. Do you know how the examination will happen and its detailed breakdown? Here’s your first question in our interactive quiz to test your knowledge!
There are ___ papers with a total duration of ___ hours.
Click the button below for the answer.
The answer is B.
There are two papers in the GCE O Level Computing examination. Paper One is 2 hours, while Paper Two is 2 hours 30 minutes.
Knowing what material is covered in the syllabus and the format of the different papers is crucial. For example, Paper 1 is a written exam while Paper 2 is a practical exam taken with the use of a computer, spreadsheet and programming software.
Here’s what else you need to know about your papers – expand the buttons below to view more – you don’t want to miss out on the information we have below!
Click Here for Overall Breakdown of Papers
Based on the format of the papers, different sections of content with higher weightage can be prioritised during revision. Moreover, knowing the different components of each paper helps to aid in time management during the examinations, giving you more time to check through your answers.
What exactly are your papers testing you for?
Click the button below for the answer.
The answer is A, C and D.
The explanation is found below.
Overall, your knowledge and understanding are the most crucial components (40% overall), while the other two hold equal weightage (30% each) when it comes to the assessment objectives.
You can read the detailed breakdown of the assessment objectives from SEAB by clicking here (page 4).
Paper 1 Analysis
We’ve broken down the O Level papers from 2018 and 2019 to give you the detailed categories involved in Paper 1. In the table below, we’ve also arranged the categories in descending order based on its proportion of the paper.
Even though memory work takes up around 30% of Paper 1, it is essential that you understand what you’ve memorised so that you can put it into practice in the other components of your paper – remember, the huge chunk of more than 70% involves understanding and application of your knowledge! Ensure that you have a complete understanding of all your modules so that you are able to tackle ALL questions efficiently and maximise your score!
Note: As there have only been two O Level papers, we do not encourage predicting the percentages of the next O Level papers. It’s essential that you fully understand what has been taught to be able to apply it throughout your papers!
Paper 2 Analysis
There are four tasks in Paper 2, which tested for the same things the past two years. Here’s the breakdown in the pie chart below.
While having knowledge and understanding are essential, the key thing is knowing how to apply it in Paper 2 when it comes to the development, testing and refinement.
Did you know? One mark in Paper 1 is worth more than one mark in Paper 2.
We compare the equivalence of one mark in the different papers across various subjects. The breakdown in the table below is useful for Computing and your Math subjects too!
One mark in Paper 1 is worth 0.875% while one mark in Paper 2 is 0.6%. These marks weigh more than that of A Math papers. Your Paper 1 marks are more valuable – losing between 5 and 6 marks could cause a grade difference – but Paper 2 marks are also as valuable – losing 8 to 9 marks could result in that grade difference too.
Note: O Level papers are currently graded on a bell curve, so while grading in school has a 5-mark difference, this is not the case when it comes to O Level papers. Every mark is essential in scoring that A1!
The Rules of Flowcharting
Revise the rules involved when constructing the program flowcharts!
What are the four common symbols in flowcharting?
Click the button below for the answer.
The answer is all of the above.
What are the other rules of constructing flowcharts? Read more here (on pages 32 and 33).
2. Revise and practice consistently
“Start early by breaking down content into manageable chunks,” Mona advises. “It is important to remember and assess your understanding of all the important concepts required for the paper.”
She also suggests getting familiar with the formula sheet attached in your O Level paper. You can find it here (pages 30 and 31).
With a formula sheet provided, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to remember what’s on it at all. Here’s the thing: you should know that formula sheet like the back of your hand – save precious exam time to ponder over questions instead. Leave the referring for emergency mind blocks! (Psst, this is the same for Mathematics.)
How do you remember your formula sheet?
There’s this thing called Retrieval Practice, which involves remembering information repeatedly – which results in it coming to mind more quickly in the future .
You can better remember it with these suggestions [1, 2]:
Space out your retrieval practice throughout your study sessions. Self-test and retest yourself repeatedly in the days or months leading up to your exam. Actively engage with your material, such as by making notes or doing questions that require applying what you’ve memorised.
Tracking Your Progress
Creating a detailed checklist with all the topics and sub-topics covered would help create a systematic method to track your progress during the last lap. You can even personalise your checklist, perhaps by breaking down the sub-modules, chapters and/or learning outcomes*.
*Note: certain learning outcomes in Module 2 are exempted in 2020’s O Levels
Don’t forget to place extra emphasis on Modules 1 and 4, since these are specifically assessed in Paper 2.
Keep track of your revision and practice sessions with our free A4 timetable that you can download here. Blocks of time can be made to ensure good exposure to both practical and theoretical concepts. You can also record the level of your understanding before and after studying each topic to track your progress.
Modules covered so far and Level of Understanding:
Module 1. Data and Information
Module 2. Systems and Communications*
Module 3. Abstraction and Algorithms
Module 4. Programming
We all know that practice makes perfect! However, practice questions are scarce when it comes to the O Level Computing papers. As this year is the third year of the O Level papers, the best option would be to request and rely on the resources from your teachers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed! And practice, practice, practice… and more practice.
3. Analysing Questions
While understanding the content is important, knowing how to apply it is equally as – if not more – essential. Here at Coding Lab, we create the questions for our O Level Computing Tuition classes, drawing on the O Level paper questions and our extensive experience in Computing education. We also put together revision papers for Secondary 4 students to have mock papers under exam-like conditions.
Paper 1 is more theoretical and ‘easier to score’ in the sense that memorisation can ‘give’ you some marks, but Paper 2 is more of demonstrating your knowledge and honing your time management by practising under time constraints. Do you know how to effectively break questions down into more digestible and easy-to-tackle questions?
Here’s how we would break down the thought process for this pseudocode question from 2018’s O Level Paper 1.
Question: A check digit for an 8-digit number is calculated by:
multiplying each digit by 3 or 1 alternately as shown in the following table
adding together the result of each multiplication
dividing the total by 10 which gives a remainder
subtracting the remainder from 10 to give the check digit, unless the remainder is 0.
If the remainder is zero (0), the check digit is 0.
The calculation of the check digit for the number 19483725 is:
Write an algorithm, using pseudo-code or a flowchart, to generate a check digit using the method given in the question.
We begin with defining the problem and identifying different parts of our program to write the pseudocode. Input: 8-digit number Output: Check digit Process: Multiply each digit in the input, alternating between 3 and 1.
Sum up the results of multiplication. Divide the total sum by 10 and find the remainder. Check if remainder is 0. If yes, output 0. Else to find the check digit, take the result of 10 – remainder
We know the number has 8 digits. In this case, we will write a loop to ask the user for the 8 numbers separately and then store the digits into a list.
FOR Count = 0 to 7
OUTPUT "Enter the next digit"
We need to multiply each digit in the input, alternating between 3 and 1. We can do this by using % to check if the list index is odd or even. We will use a variable named total to store our result.
FOR Count = 0 to 7
IF Count % 2 == 0:
Total = Total + Numbers[Count] * 3
Total = Total + Numbers[Count]
We now divide the total sum by 10 and find the remainder. Once again, we can use %.
Remainder = Total % 10
Check if remainder is 0. If yes, output 0. Else to find the check digit, take the result of 10 – remainder
FOR Count = 0 to 7
OUTPUT "Enter the next digit"
Total = 0
FOR Count = 0 to 7
IF Count % 2 == 0:
Total = Total + Numbers[Count] * 3
Total = Total + Numbers[Count]
Remainder = Total % 10
IF Remainder == 0:
OUTPUT 10 - Remainder
That sums up our walkthrough of a sample O Level question. Pseudocode questions make up the majority of Paper 1, so understanding the steps to solve such questions is a key ingredient for that A1!
Bonus: Create a cheatsheet
It is undeniable that the Computing papers involve memory work. Hence, a common difficulty students face is remembering the fundamental blocks for the exam, such as logic gates, functions and formulae. Questions tend to ask a range of things, from identifying components and explaining what it does to the pros and cons.
The solution? Create a cheat sheet with all the functions and relevant information to create a personalised resource where the most important information is available at a glance. We get our Computing students to consolidate their learning via cheatsheets and instil the information through practising practical problems, which – as mentioned above – builds memory for programming in the process.
Your cheatsheet could be a black and white A4 one-page or you could use coloured pens and highlighters to facilitate your memory – it all depends on your preference and learning style!
It is normal to feel stressed and confused after practising various exercises. Although it is important to continuously practise, it is just as important to play hard as well.
“Sometimes when my codes don’t work, I would just do other things,” Mona laughs. “The solution will suddenly come to me out of nowhere, then I’ll go back and continue my codes.”
We would also suggest taking breaks throughout study sessions and not to forget having some time off, especially during this stressful period. Overall, it is important to achieve a balance between studying and taking breaks, while preparing for the examinations. This is especially so during these unprecedented times of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
From all of us here at Coding Lab, we would like to wish everyone all the best for their upcoming examinations! 🙂
Taking the ‘O’ level Computing Paper this November 2020? Join our Bootcamps, where we share essential tips and tricks in achieving that A1 or get your burning questions answered by booking a semi-personalised consultation with us (Limited Slots available).
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!
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 . 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 . It makes learning so much more fun! In YCS’s Augmented Reality class, students learn to create AR games – just like this Piano one! 😎
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 !
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 !
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) . 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!
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!
(available on their website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts)
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)
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)
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)!
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)
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!
Get updates and more posts like these when you follow our Facebook and Instagram pages!
Educational approaches around the world are now focusing on STEAM as opposed to the traditional STEM framework. Why is this so? How does STEAM impact our children’s future? And what can you do for your child?
“To prepare our young to seize these opportunities … we have to focus more on applied learning … we have to promote lifelong learning.”
– Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
What is STEAM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The initial STEM education pushed for advancements in technology, yet something started to become more apparent. We can have lots of bots, but you can’t code creativity or program imagination.
It begged the question: What’s the point of having high-tech robots without creative minds that can take ideas further?
Thus, the integration of Arts into STEM began. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Yakman  breaks it down into the STEAM Pyramid (as seen below), which illustrates how imparting content-specific subjects in primary, secondary, tertiary and higher education can lead to holistic, lifelong skills and a great foundation for your child’s aspirations.
While STEM pushed for using math and science concepts integrated with engineering design to create real-world technologies, the Arts was needed to fill in the gap of essential life skills. This included innovating, creativity, critical thinking, possibility thinking, and much more [2, 3, 4].
Though the term ‘STEAM’ is not widely used in Singapore, it’s clear that the Ministry of Education is also gearing up for STEAM education for our young ones. “This is an investment worth making to nurture innovation and creativity,” the then Minister for Education (Schools), Ng Chee Meng, said. “And importantly, prepare our children for the future.” 
STEAM Education for the Future
STEAM was proposed as the perfect harmony of the logical STEM and creative Arts in 2008  as creativity became highly valued in modern education . The blending of subjects enabled children to improve their cognitive and affective skills, while internally motivating them to learn .
With it came a bonus advantage: teaching the Arts would include hands-on and emotional learning experiences that would interest and internally motivate children in their education . This would engage students in the content and improve their success in STEM subjects as well .
Ultimately, the aim of Arts in STEM education is to impart creativity and critical thinking. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this skill is important today. It would also widen their horizons into thinking about the world, empathy, communication and the social sciences . The arts is where things like education, sociology and linguistics fall under, and are also connected to STEM fields.
It’s full STEAM ahead!
Since 2013, Singapore has been integrating STEAM into our education system. Aside from making coding mandatory for students, all primary schools will offer Applied Learning Programmes (ALP) by 2023, which aims to cater to different interests, including STEM, aesthetics, languages, humanities, entrepreneurship and many more . Although not explicitly named STEAM, it is evident that the ALP comprises STEM and Arts (or Aesthetics).
You can view the list of Singapore Secondary Schools that have ALP by clicking here (last updated 20 August 2020).
Speaking about applied learning, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: “Our challenge now is to continue creating opportunities for our young to fulfil their aspirations in a future which is going to be very different. An economy which is more sophisticated and diversified, where the growth is going to come from productivity improvements and new products and services, not yet dreamt of or invented.” 
“To prepare our young to seize these opportunities,” PM Lee continued, “we have to focus more on applied learning … we have to promote lifelong learning.” 
What can you do for your child?
To create a comprehensive foundation for your child’s future, it is essential to integrate creativity through the Arts in a way that naturally fits into STEM . This prepares them for life and the future where STEAM comes together for great things and real-world solutions.
In the 21st century, using IT is an attractive alternative to learn STEAM contents for a digital generation , while also promoting computational and technological literacy . Coding is a great example of integrative STEAM learning, which utilises math and science skills while applying creativity to designs to solve problems. For example, our 7 to 9-year olds learn Scratch, a colourful drag-and-drop programming platform that kickstarts their coding journeys.
Aside from learning the basics of coding in an eye-catching interface, it also imparts many other skills. From brainstorming for their projects to bringing it to fruition, the process includes problem-solving codes, drawing and designing their own games and characters, and self-confidence as they strengthen their abilities.
“One does not have to aspire to be a computer scientist to learn to code.“
– Foo Yong Ning, founder of Coding Lab
When parents are involved in the coding process, there are other potential and powerful learning experiences of coding such as providing avenues for bonding and interacting through a shared experience. Coding also calls for active participation and inquiry-based learning . Coupled with hands-on experiences when learning software and programming hardware (such as sensors and microcontrollers), applying what they have learned would also foster understanding and encourage deeper learning of STEAM .
“One does not have to aspire to be a computer scientist to learn to code,” says Foo Yong Ning, the founder of Coding Lab. “Coding provides our students with rich STEAM learning experiences and the space to embark on their own coding projects.
This enables students to take ownership of their own personal projects, learning responsibility and feeling a sense of connection with something that they have invested time and effort in.
Along the way, problems and possibly even failure are bound to be part of the coding journey, but it is these experiences that teach valuable lessons to everyone, and the eventual feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment make the journey feel worth it.”
Ultimately, the feelings of success and personal fulfilment are important to spur our children on to get engaged in STEAM learning and education to build a solid foundation for their future. By learning to code, these experiences nurture future leaders in technology and fully-literate 21st-century citizens.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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!
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