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Coding For Young Students – The Next Big thing
Why should we teach coding at a young age?
Around the world, students from elementary school and up are increasingly acquiring basic coding skills. Governments, educators and tech industry advocates argue that a basic understanding of coding and how electronic devices actually work is crucial nowadays. This is important for the students’ future career but also to their countries economy and tech industry.
Coding can seem intimidating or boring but if taught at a young age these assumptions can be disparaged and students can realize how creative this field is. Coding help develop problem solving skills, logical thinking, persistence, collaboration, communication and is a real empowering activity.
The earlier we introduce children to coding, the more comfortable they will be when coding will be introduced later down the line at a higher level.
What does leading people in the industry say?
Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.
Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren’t enough people who are trained and have these skills today.
Musician/The Black Eyed Peas and Entrepreneur
Here we are, 2013, we ALL depend on technology to communicate, to bank, and none of us know how to read and write code. It’s important for these kids, right now, starting at 8 years old, to read and write code.
Founder, Virgin Group
Whether we’re fighting climate change or going to space, everything is moved forward by computers, and we don’t have enough people who can code. Teaching young people to code early on can help build skills and confidence and energize the classroom with learning-by-doing opportunities. I learned how to fly a hot air balloon when I was 30,000 feet up and my life was in the balance: you can learn skills at any age but why wait when we can teach everyone to code now!
Why teach coding with a robot?
A robot is a mechanical device that can be programmed to follow a set of instructions. A robot includes a processing unit, sensors to perceive its environment, and motors and actuators to move its limbs or wheels. So, why teach coding with a robot? It makes coding even more fun! It makes coding less abstract, you actually see the result of what you coded in the real world. On the way, students learn some science, engineering and math.
Robots are already part of everyday life, but over the coming decades we will see them more and more, therefore the robotics field will continue to grow and increase in job prospects.
Why teach coding with Sense?
Sense is a robotic and computer programming system which allows users to explore, problem solve, and advance their computer programming abilities from just starting in visual block programming, to Python and C languages.
The sense platform can be expanded by over 45 different NeuLog sensors so that you can create solutions and codes the world has never thought of for any problem you try to overcome.
Students can program the Sense via the “RoblocklySense” programming platform which runs through your browser. It is very friendly and it is easy to create and run robotics programs.
Most Beautiful Graphs in Physics
Every scientist knows that a nice looking figure can be very efficient in getting your paper published. A lot of NeuLog experiments generate really esthetic and interesting graphs. I gathered the top seven graphs for physics:
1. Simple Pendulum
The location of a mass swinging back and forth on a thread was measured by a rotary motion sensor. Friction causes it to have slightly smaller amplitude each swing until decay.
2. Sound Waves
When hit by a hammer, the tines of a tuning fork vibrate back and forth pushing the air molecules around them. When the tine moves forward the molecules are pushed together creating a compression and when the tine moves backward it creates a rarefaction (low pressure region). The compressions and rarefactions were detected by a sound sensor. This created a nice recurring pattern.
3. Sound Beats
In this experiment, two tuning forks with different frequencies were hit to create a stunning graph that demonstrated wave interference. Wave interference is a phenomenon which occurs when two waves meet while traveling along the same medium. When two waves interfere, the resulting displacement of the medium at any location is the algebraic sum of the displacements of the individual waves at that same location.
4. Thermal Conductivity
In this experiment, three different metals were heated and then cooled down. Their temperature was measured with the NeuLog Temperature sensor. The composition of the atoms in the material affects how the temperature changes.
5. Impulse and Momentum
In this experiment, a basketball was dropped on a force plate sensor. The graph shows the force that was applied on it. Impulse and change in momentum values were calculated using this great graph. The interesting thing about this experiment is that not only did the ball height decrease over time, but there was also less time between each bounce.
6. Magnetic Field
In this experiment, the magnetic field strength was measured at different locations on a bar magnet. This created a graph that has perfect rotational symmetry.
7. Charging a Capacitor
In this experiment, voltage and current were measured while a capacitor was charged and discharged. The current graph also has excellent rotational symmetry.
Light sensor brought to light
One of the first sensors I worked with was the light sensor. It is amazing how this sensor can be used in so many fields of science. I started by creating experiments that teach the most basic principles of light.
The Light and Dark Colors experiment demonstrates the principle of light reflection and absorption. When visible light (that contain all the colors), completely reflects from an object, this light appears white. When the object completely absorbs all the light, it is recognized as black. This was done by projecting light on white, grey and black papers and measuring the reflected light. One of the responses I received from teachers is that young students finally understood why it is not a good idea to wear a black shirt on a sunny day.
Projecting Light on a white paper and measuring the reflected light.
The second experiment I want to tell you about is a really fun one, Colors of Light. In this experiment, you combine color filters and colored flashlights in order to detect the light coming through the filters. As an example, a red filter transmits (and reflects) mostly red light and absorbs the rest, while a blue filter does the same with blue color. So what will be the light intensity if we place a red filter on a blue flashlight? Conduct the experiment and you’ll see (and measure of course!).
At the end of the experiment, you will find some fun educational activities you can do with the colored flashlights and filters (those items are included in our Light kit).
What’s great about this sensor is that it has three different ranges of light intensity. This way, you can choose the best range according to your experiment. When measuring light outdoors I like to use the 0 to 150,000 lx range (like in the Rayleigh Scattering experiment). When I measure light in a dim room (like in the Light and Shadow experiment) I use the 0 to 1000 lx range. For the rest of the experiments I use the middle range (0 to 6000 lx).