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.

Our ACS student having fun in class!
Our ACS student having fun in class!

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.

Turtle Race by Emily, 12, Advanced Computer Scientists
Turtle Race by Emily, 12 years old
Space Invaders by Luciano, 12, Advanced Computer Scientists
Space Invaders by Luciano, 12 years old

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.

Photo of ACS Class
Our curious Advanced Computer Scientists trying out in-class activities

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 [1]. 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.

Snapshot of Online HBL class
Snapshot of Online Home-Based Learning class for ACS

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 [2]. 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 [3]. 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 [4].

When it comes to tracking our steps, Abraham Louis Perrelet is the brilliant mind behind the pedometer [5]. 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 [6]. So for now, let’s just say this is a folktale – and an interesting one too.

Our ACS student exploring the course
Our ACS student exploring the course

Now that you’re armed with all of this cool information, spread the joy of learning by sharing this with your friends and family! 

Come onboard our Advanced Computer Scientists’ programme – where we help to build your child’s aspiration of becoming the next future leader in technology!


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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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Fun Techtivities in November!

Signing up for various post-exams activities is a wonderful way to look forward to an enriching school holiday season after the exam season is done and dusted! With the holiday season starting, it is time to discover new ways to have fun with technology. Regardless of whether it’s with family or friends, the tech-activities for this month serve as a great way for us to kick back and relax!

Recycle N Save

A new initiative by the National Environment Agency and F&N, Singaporeans can now come together to adopt an eco-conscious lifestyle by disposing of their used plastic bottles and aluminium cans. For your consistent recycling efforts at the many Reverse Vending Machines across Singapore, you stand to receive several rewards such as NTUC coupons!

This reminds us of the Smart Bin that Vayun, our Silver Medallist (NOI 2020), invented when he was just 13 years old! Think about what goes into the making of such inventions and the lines of codes…

Read: Congratulations to our 8 Olympiad Medallists!

Details:
Multiple locations across Singapore
Price: Free
To find out more, click here.


Hello From The Wild Side

Go on a Zoom date with animals! As we are shifting to a new normal, Singaporeans have found new ways to bring our favourite destinations to us right in the comfort of our homes. The Singapore Zoo is now bringing their beloved animal ambassadors to virtual visitors from Singapore and beyond by giving them a chance to see them in their habitats, go behind-the-scenes, and chat with their keepers.

There are different ways to engage with the furry friends including personalised messages, backstage passes and interactive group sessions!

Details:
Mondays, Thursdays to Sundays
Online
Price: From $50
To find out more or book a slot, click here.


Year-End Holiday Coding Camps

Why not pick up a new skill or continue where you left off this holiday? There are many workshops and camps to attend that help inculcate useful skills in students while being immersed in a fun environment. We have several camps for students to enjoy coding, a useful skillset, to equip themselves as part of a technologically-savvy generation in a globalised world!

Details:
23 November to 30 December 2020
Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall), Ang Mo Kio (The Grassroots’ Club), Online
Price: From $37.45
To find out more, click here.


Psst! Students who sign up together with their friends can get 12% OFF when you use our promo code SUPERCODER to purchase 2 or more classes!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our October #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes digital art, virtual runs and more!


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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.

Mona teaching Python
Our Lead Educator Mona imparting her knowledge to her student

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. 

2018 vs 2019 Papers Breakdown by Category
2018 vs 2019 Paper 1s Breakdown by Category

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.

Breakdown of Paper 2 - Pie Chart

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! 

O Level Computing Marks Comparison Table
O Level Computing Marks Comparison Table

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 [1].

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:

Sample Question table

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

Step 1

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.

Sample code:
FOR Count = 0 to 7
    OUTPUT "Enter the next digit"
    INPUT Numbers[Count]
NEXT Count
Step 2

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.

Sample code:
FOR Count = 0 to 7
    IF Count % 2 == 0:
        Total = Total + Numbers[Count] * 3
    ELSE:
        Total = Total + Numbers[Count]
    ENDIF
NEXT Count
Step 3

We now divide the total sum by 10 and find the remainder. Once again, we can use %.

Sample code:
Remainder = Total % 10
Step 4

Check if remainder is 0. If yes, output 0.
Else to find the check digit, take the result of 10 – remainder

Sample code:
IF Remainder == 0:
    OUTPUT 0
ELSE:
    OUTPUT 10 - Remainder
Full sample code
FOR Count = 0 to 7
    OUTPUT "Enter the next digit"
    INPUT Numbers[Count]
NEXT Count
Total = 0
FOR Count = 0 to 7
    IF Count % 2 == 0:
        Total = Total + Numbers[Count] * 3
    ELSE:
        Total = Total + Numbers[Count]
    ENDIF
NEXT Count
Remainder = Total % 10
IF Remainder == 0:
    OUTPUT 0
ELSE:
    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).

Click here to find out more about our O Level Computing tuition programme.


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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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A record number of our students achieved medals in this year’s prestigious 23rd National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) and we celebrate their achievements! The NOI is modelled after the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), one of the most highly-distinguished annual informatics competitions for high school students in the world.

This year’s bumper crop of medallists includes 1 Silver and 7 Bronze winners who are between 13 and 17 years old! Our winning students have been learning C++ and growing with us after being spotted in their Python classes for their programming prowesses. It is truly a great sight to see them flourish and become phenomenal medallists!

NOI spots are reserved for every school’s top students to participate, so only few can represent their school, and only the best can attain medals in the Olympiad. We’re even more proud of the fact that many of our medallists came to us as complete beginners in programming (some started at the age of 10!), and were carefully nurtured in our classes right under the noses of our eagle-eyed tutors to achieve their results. Well done!

Presenting to you Coding Lab’s 23rd NOI medallists:

Vayun Mathur, 15Silver Medallist
Kushaan Mishra, 17Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
James Pearman, 14Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
Caleb Chia, 13Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
David Walton, 15Bronze Medallist
Faiz Ali Shoaib, 17Bronze Medallist
Bobis Franc Ivan Lorenzo, 16Bronze Medallist
Elijah Yong, 14Bronze Medallist

Silver Medallist

Vayun Mathur, 15

Singapore American School
Coding Lab Vayun Silver Medallist
Vayun (left) won a Silver Medal at the NOI

The Olympiad is one of Computing’s biggest annual competitions in Singapore and the Silver Medal is awarded to the top 20% of participants. We’re so proud of our young innovator for being 1 of the 32 Silver Medallists this year! An Olympiad medal is highly recognised for admissions to top universities around the world. During the competition, contestants are given five hours to work out solutions to algorithmic tasks. This does not only require skills such as programming and testing, but also Mathematics and in-depth knowledge of designing algorithms, data structures and information theory.

Our bright student Vayun has been in the news before, with features on Google and international news network CGTN. He has performed well once again and we congratulate Vayun on getting the Silver Medal!

Read: Coding Lab CGTN feature


3 Bronze Medallists (First Attempt)

Kushaan Mishra, 17

Singapore American School

James Pearman, 14

Dulwich College Singapore

Caleb Chia, 13

Anglo-Chinese School Independent

Coding Lab’s Bronze Medallists made up 7 of the 49 Bronze Medallists in this year’s NOI. As one of the most prestigious computer science competitions, it’s not an easy feat to attain medals and our 3 students did Coding Lab and their schools proud when they emerged as bronze medallists on their first attempts! Our youngest medallist, Caleb Chia (just 13 years old!), has been with us since he was in primary school and we’re proud of his growth! All participants had to undergo a Preliminary Round to qualify for the NOI. Despite being new to the competition, our students ranked well and went on to clinch medals at the NOI.

Coding Lab NOI Bronze First Attempt
(from left) Kushaan, James, Coach Guangxuan, Jun Ray and Caleb

We are proud of our students’ remarkable achievements and commend their hard work to overcome the odds, especially during this pandemic. A round of applause for Kushaan, James and Caleb!


4 Bronze Medallists

National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) 2019 Medallists
Elijah (left) and David at NOI 2019

David Walton, 15

United World College SEA Dover Campus

Faiz Ali Shoaib, 17

United World College SEA Dover Campus

Elijah Yong, 14

Anglo-Chinese School Independent

Bobis Franc Ivan Lorenzo, 16

Gan Eng Seng School

These 4 students were able to pit their computing skills against talented coders from more than 30 other schools and gain invaluable experiences in the Olympiad. Their consistent effort and hard work paid off as they took on programming tasks and made their mark at the reputable NOI.

This year’s medallists include Elijah Yong, who was awarded Youngest Medallist in last year’s NOI. The 14-year-old has been with us since he was a Primary Five student, when we spotted his potential and invited him to join our NOI programme. The Coding Lab team is proud to have seen him grow over the years into a confident teenager with medals under his belt and we commend him for his consistent hard work!

Read: Elijah Yong, Youngest Medallist at NOI 2019

Image of Elijah receiving award for youngest medalist, NOI 2019
Elijah receiving award for Youngest Medallist, NOI 2019

The Coding Lab team is proud of our students for clinching the Bronze Medals, and we celebrate their achievements. Great job David, Faiz, Bobis and Elijah!

Congratulations to our outstanding students! We’re proud of our 8 students for coding their way to the top with their tenacity and hours of training, even overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic. They had been training once a week since the beginning of the year to prepare for the NOI and it was heartening to see their hard work pay off! We also thank Coach Guangxuan for his dedication, training and guidance of our students.

Whilst we celebrate our students’ success in this arena, we recognise that competitive programming is merely a subset of the full scope of programming. Many of our students have achieved success in wider aspects; whether it’s creating a Stock Rating Algorithm, a Real-Time Carpark Tracker, a prize-winning app or attaining an overseas scholarship to read Computer Science at University, we’re here to support our students every step of the way.

Interested to find out more? Check out the Python Programming and Elective courses we offer for Secondary school and Junior College students.


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Fun Techtivities in October!

Now that the safe distancing rules are easing, we’ve got even more fun tech-activities coming your way! With the school holidays almost around the corner, this month is sure to be a blast.

Gallery Kids by National Art Gallery

The National Art Gallery has activities and workshops lined up till the end of the year, so you and your families can indulge in a variety of exhibits online. With videos inspired by paintings and other storytelling sessions, check out their website for new online activities lined up every week!

Details:
Until the end of 2020
Online
Price: Free
To find out more, click here.


Virtual Runs

The POSB PAssion Virtual Run for Kids 2020 is a special event run completely online (pun intended!), all for a good cause! It’s their first-ever virtual run, which you can do alongside your loved ones at any time and anywhere – no matter the pace – and you get to personalise your own routes too. Sign-ups close on 18 October, so grab your spot before the actual event in November!

Details:
Registration closes on 18 October 2020
(Race period is from 1 to 30 November 2020)
Online – any time, anywhere
Price: From $5
To find out more, click here.

For those looking to do something this Halloween season, there’s the Halloween Virtual Run to complete within 3 days. It’s virtually done with your GPS tracking app or indoor treadmill, and also includes a spooky finisher medal upon completion!

Details:
Registration closes on 29 October 2020 (while stocks last!)
Race Period: 30 Oct 2020 – 01 Nov 2020
Price: From $9.99
To find out more, click here.


Children’s Day Coding Workshops

Children’s Day 2020 is right around the corner and we’ve got some exciting two-hour workshops to keep your kiddos entertained! Let their creative juices flow as they explore the world of coding and experience the wonders of Scratch and Python.

Children's Day Coding Workshops 2020

Details:
9 October 2020
Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) and Online
Price: From $35
To find out more for ages 4 to 6, click here.
To find out more for ages 7 to 12, click here.


We also have October coding camps for your children to attend after PSLE or for the International school holidays to pick up a new, useful skill. Psst, get their classmates to sign up too – you can get 12% OFF when you use our promo code SUPERCODER to purchase 2 or more classes!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our previous September #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes hackathons, Tech Career Days, online board games, and more…


School examinations – an inevitable part of students’ lives. As yearly occurrences, these events see our kids and teens burying their heads in books and looking forward to their year-end activities.

We know that examinations play a major role in at least more than a decade of our students’ lives, and the Coding Lab Team stands with you in walking this journey hand in hand with them. We’ve collated some quick tips on how you can support your child’s physical and mental health to help them achieve their best. 🙂

1. Time Management Skills

Our mighty students showing their strength!
Our mighty students showing their strength!

As the examinations draw closer, it is tempting for many students to pull all-nighters in order to get in that extra bit of info. However at this stage, it is more important than ever for children to prioritise their sleep. We all know that it is recommended for them to get around 8 hours of sleep every night to make sure that they have enough energy for the next day [1]. But how do we go about it?

First Step: Teaching them how to organise their tasks with to-do lists and schedules. In picking up this very useful lifelong skill, they are gaining invaluable knowledge on time allocation and divide-and-conquer strategies, resulting in being more productive on a daily basis while still having leftover time to relax.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

– Maimonides

A glimpse of our printable weekly planner

Get started by downloading our Coding Lab A4 printable weekly planners (Yes, it’s FREE!) or click here for some beautiful templates we found online.

2. Watch Quick Bites Online

Image of Python Perfect class
A hybrid class in action (Online and Physical) – with students revising their work

Our students do need their rest, but we know that they’d like to squeeze in as much knowledge as they can each day. The solution – fitting in alternative forms of revision during breaks, especially in the midst of long hours of test papers and assessment books.

With the help of technology, learning and revision have never been easier! There are plenty of YouTube channels and websites that provide bite-sized tips online, regardless of the examinations you are studying for. Informative and colourful graphics allow students to recall concepts better as well. Fit one (or two!) videos in with your eyes closed, or during afternoon tea – some of our students’ favourites (hear it from the best) include Kurzgesagt and Khan Academy!

For the younger ones aged 4 to 12, Read: Top 10 shows/cartoons to teach children about STEM

Read: Tech Podcasts & TED Talks to get you psyched about tech

3. Trying a New Workout Together!

The benefits of exercise are diverse – from feeling more energetic to being productive at school or work [2]. Exercise helps release endorphins, chemicals in the brain that help alleviate stress accumulated throughout the day. Despite the COVID-19 situation, there are new home-based workouts available for the family by Get Active TV.

These workouts not only serve as a useful break away from the books but also help you bond with your child (or teen) throughout the session! (Bonus tip: You can even fit point 2 into this!)

4. Don’t Forget the Essential Eye Breaks

Our Young Computer Scientists taking an eye break on the bean bags
Our Young Computer Scientists taking an eye break on the bean bags at our Parkway Parade Campus

In the midst of all that studying, it is important for our children to remember to relax their eyes and hydrate regularly. This applies to you too! Here are some quick tips to help them, even when you’re away at work [3]:

  • Set reminders or alarms to take a break from near-work activities every 30-40 minutes and look at the trees outside for 5 minutes
  • An alternative eye break is to simply close your eyes to rest for a while
  • Sunlight has been shown to prevent or delay myopia, so spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors

We all play an important role in teaching our children to take better care of themselves throughout the year. Sometimes, even the smallest ways that we show our care towards them can mean a lot to them. Given the current pandemic, it is even more important to ensure that your children are well-prepared mentally and physically with the exams [4] around the corner!

The Coding Lab team would like to wish everyone taking their exams all the best! You’ve got this 🙂


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!

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