Dispensing candy

Who says programming should be scary and full of syntax?

We are learning thinking like a programmer through various designs for a candy dispenser.

Look at the creativity and fun associated. Without realizing children are building algorithms, IF ELSE blocks and handling boundary conditions.

We will soon graduate into demonstrating Newton’s laws using Python.

Learning using programming, than learning programming.

Experiential learning program | July-Sept 2018

July-Sept 2018 LDEW2

Similar program will be conducted simultaneously near Purvafairmont Apartments, 24 Main, HSR Layout at 4 PM in the evening. See details below

All of us as parents are convinced that just relying on school education is not enough for our children. We know the world  they will live in tomorrow will require them to develop new life skills and develop true passion for their work.

Also, children learn best by doing – not just regurgitating textbooks and taking exams. While there is tremendous value in traditional school education, we are all looking for ways to complete / complement that.

That is the purpose of Stable Bow. To complement / complete traditional school education, so children learn by Exploration, Experimentation, Experience and Expression.

I will be conducting a 12 week program for children in partnership with Words Work Library and Children’s Center in Lakedew residency, Harlur, Bangalore as well as near Purvafairmont Apartments, HSR Layout.

The real objective of the program is to instill a love for learning, critical thinking and appreciation for collaboration in young minds. This will happen through the context of exploring PHYSICS (thru projects, programming and writing)

The ‘why of StableBow‘ can explain more about this thinking.

Topics for the program:

  • NO PRE-REQUISITE KNOWLEDGE IS NEEDED
  • Physics: Kinematics
    • Includes study of motion of objects and the effect of force … including  study of force, Newton’s laws and 2D movement of objects
  • Programming: Building projects using Python and Jupyter notebooks
    • No prior programming knowledge is needed

Details of the program in Lakedew:

  • Intro session July 8th 9 AM
  • 12 sessions from July 15th – September 30th
  • Every Sunday 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • For children ~9-14 years / classes 5-8
  • The sessions will be in the Words Work Library and Children’s Center, Lakedew Residency, Harlur (directions click here)
  • Fees Rs. 1,500 per child per month

Details of the program in Purvafairmont:

  • Intro session July 8th 4 PM
  • 12 sessions from July 15th – September 30th
  • Every Sunday 4:00 – 5:30 PM
  • For children ~9-14 years / classes 5-8
  • The sessions will be in the Budding Kidz Montessori Preschool, Next to Purvafairmont, 24 Main, HSR Layout (directions click here)
  • Fees Rs. 1,500 per child per month

How to join the program:

  • Click here to register

There will be a lot more happening than just the topics at hand. The experience and interactions will be much more crucial than the content itself.

See some of the videos by the children. Also see this one on Rube Goldberg’s machine, Pascal’s principle and another on waves.

Over 12 weeks, children will EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIENCE and EXPRESS in this journey of learning. Kids can expect three things …

  1. Learn to Learn (EXPLORE) … discussion on learning concepts such as Growth vs Talent Mindset and Deliberate Practice
  2. Creation. Build a Project (EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT and EXPERIENCE) … teams of 2-3 will build a project (say a ‘hydraulic mechanism’). In the process appreciating the application of physics, challenges of coming up with original ideas, facing the obstacles of building / tinkering with real things and above all working as a team
  3. Critically Analyze and Synthesize (EXPLORE and EXPRESS) … we will watch small movie clips, critically analyze the layers/nuances (camera angles, sound, expressions, story telling etc.) and articulate those ideas. Kids love this

Please see the following links to understand more about StableBow and the program. Of course, we can talk more when we meet in the introduction session on Dec 16th.

Graduation day … Purvafairmont Waves

So happy to see all parents tuning up to see their kids graduate on a Sunday morning. All the kids did so well thru this session.

This time we used waves as the topic to learn together. We not only talked about the theory behind waves but various applications. Thru the journey we learned about SIN and COS. We also created simulation of a wave in a Python notebook.

As ever, the topic is incidental. The learning process is what makes the impact.

The biggest thing I wanted the kids to learn is appreciate that programming is not about coding. It is about developing a new mindset. It is about learning anything with design, iterations and simulation.

The journey of creating a wave simulator made them appreciate the possibilities of learning thru programming.

wave equation

Most of us would be be so intimidated by the equation above. But, many of them managed to not only understand the intuition behind this, but also simulate it in a Python notebook. In fact, one kid even created a way to demonstrate interference. That’s the power of learning experimentally.

Very happy to hear all the feedback from the parents that children are starting to love this way of learning. Once we create the right environment, children’s desire to learn is unstoppable. Every child is unique. Allowing them to be themselves seems to explode their creativity.

Here is the certificate to reinforce the same message.

Waves Purva Jan 2018 Cert of Appreciation.png

Can’t wait for the summer camp in May.

We are going to create a Rube Goldeberg machine*. So much fun !!

* A Rube Goldberg machine and the world record winning version.

Programing mindset Session 3 – Purvafairmont

We took on an ambitious agenda of laying the foundation for a programming mindset today. Probably the toughest thing I attempted so far, and I would give myself a B for the session.

Will try harder next time.

People often confuse programming for coding. Programming is about design, logic and experimentation. That is what children need to learn, instead of being lost in syntax. In fact programming is not just about making computers work, but developing a new mindset of learning – design, re-usability, failing fast, fixable errors, simulation, logic etc.

(I will write in more detail in a later post, but programming is a very powerful tool for learning many things including Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Social Sciences)

We started the session by asking the kids to design a free single candy dispenser. It doesn’t take money and only dispenses one type of candy. They needed to design the physical mechanism, as well as develop the logic for the machine. This has to be done by using the pre-determined blocks.

Free single candy dispenser

The idea is to develop the underlying algorithmic thinking.

Children were unstoppable with their creativity in designing the dispensers. Leave them alone and they are all so mischievous.

We then used the ‘lego’ blocks to develop the intuition for input, processing, output and conditional blocks.

Here is a summary of the final design we created.

(I had no choice but to incorporate their inputs on the characters in the diagram. So naughty …)

IMG_20180211_190858x

We then took the thinking to the next level asking what changes are needed, if the machine dispenses three types of candies.

IMG_20180211_190916

See how elegantly we could bring in another control block and =reusable functions. Why don’t we teach programming this way in colleges? Why do we start with endless syntax and abstract examples like Fibonacci series. (Yes, the kids are puking in the example because the first option dispenses Sour Punk candies !!)

Post that we created a simple Jupyter notebook in Microsoft Azure using Python (notebooks.azure.com). I love how intuitive notebooks are to learn programming, as the experiments are immediately visible for one to see. I love Python because it has such a minimalist syntax, with so many possibilities in the future.  We have more work to do for this topic. More exciting sessions coming up.

Over the next 3 weeks children will be building a Wave generator using Jupyter notebooks. Can’t wait …

 

Purvafairmont Jan 2018

Super excited about the new program coming up in Purva. Hope to build on the learning from last time, and make this one better.

Key facts about the program:

  • 6 sessions from January 28th – March 4th
  • Sunday 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • For children ~10-14 years / classes 5-8
  • The sessions will be in the Purvafairmont Clubhouse
  • Fees Rs. 1,000 per child
  • For questions see stablebow.org or email me at stablebow.org@gmail.com

If you want to register, please fill this form.

Over 6 weeks, children will EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIENCE and EXPRESS though this journey of learning.

The explicit topic will be ‘Sound and Waves‘.

The inputs will be tuning forks, plates for banging, programming in Python, white-boarding, cool videos and lots of discussions.

But, all those are excuses to learn to learn.

Here are three aspects of how children will spend their time in the 6 weeks. (This is not CBSE, so we may not exactly adhere to an order and will go with the flow !!)

  1. Learn to Learn (EXPLORE) … discussion on learning concepts such as Growth vs Talent Mindset and Deliberate Practice. Experiments and problems around Waves, Sound. Play around with programming in Python to simulate ideas
  2. Creation. Build a Project (EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT and EXPERIENCE) … teams of 2-3 will build a ‘sound wave analyser’. In the process appreciating the application of physics, challenges of coming up with original ideas, facing the obstacles of building / tinkering with real things and above all working as a team
  3. Critically Analyse and Synthesise (EXPLORE and EXPRESS) … we will watch small movie clips, critically analyse the layers/nuances (camera angles, sound, expressions, story telling etc.) and articulate those ideas. Kids love this

Please see the following links to understand more about StableBow and the program.

Some FAQs

  1. Will children need to spend money to build the project? No. I intend to have a budget limit of may be Rs. 500-700. This is about creativity and tinkering
  2. Will all children do the same project? The topic is the same. Build a sound wave analyser. But each of them will be required to come up a creative way to build one
  3. Can you do it at another time? No, not for now. We will need to stick with the Sunday morning plan
  4. My child cannot attend the sessions but wants to do the project. Can we do that? Suggest not to. Think most of the value is in the discussions and collaboration
  5. Will it only be about Physics and Programming? This project is about design, collaboration, planning and communication in addition to the core concepts of physics and programming. I love movies, physics and programming. So I am marrying all three !!
  6. My child doesn’t know Python programming? No issues. They can learn what’s necessary along the way
  7. Will you share the necessary links and material? Yes, will create a whatsapp group and share in that. Will also train the children on using the online WIKISPACE platform for learning and Python programming as necessary