At Kodecoon Academy, we pride ourselves on sending our students for coding competitions and hackathons as we stay true to what we believe - students should apply what they have learned and be active creators of technology, and not mere passive consumers.
We are always (super) proud when we receive news that our students have won hackathons or coding competitions. This is especially so as we spend hours providing coaching and mentoring (sometimes out of class hours) to ensure their projects and presentations are ready.
But imagine our surprise and excitement when we received news from Erin, Kai Ze’s mother, who told us that Kai Ze has won a national Scratch competition. Hack@Code competition is a national online thematic coding competition jointly organized by Code.JAM and Tribal Studioz. Check out the Hack@Code competition results here.
We invited Kai Ze, who just turned 10, to share with us his thoughts about winning the Hack@Code competition
Read on for the interview Teacher Deddy did with Kai Ze!
How did you get selected by your school to attend this Hack@Code competition?
Because I am in robotics CCA, and I am familiar with Scratch since I have learned it before so the teacher asked me to represent the school to participate in the competition
Only 6 of us were selected, 2 Primary 5s and 4 Primary 4s - I was one of the P4 students selected.
Where did you learn Scratch from?
Kodecoon Academy! Hahaha
How did you feel when you were selected?
Excited! Because I have never attended any competitions before, especially this one is a national competition.
Did you expect that you will be selected for this competition?
No, because I didn’t even know there is this competition. But even if I know, I wouldn’t expect that I would be selected because I think there are others better than me.
What were the requirements of the competition?
To imagine the future of 2050, how we can create a better future and it can be a story, or a game. I created a story and a game at the end. It has to also be programmed on Scratch platform.
The theme for the Hack@Code competition is 2050. As the whole world is still recovering from the unprecedented attack of the COVID-19 virus, we have directly or indirectly witnessed many areas of our lives to be badly affected by it. While it may appear that everything looks all doom and gloom but the glowing light of the indomitable human spirit will eventually pierce through all darkness and overcome all obstacles.
There was a team component and an individual component of the competition.
There were three teams to represent the school, two people in each team.
So out of the other teams, did the others submit the individual project as well?
No, I was the only one who submitted.
Wow! What made you decide to submit for the individual entry?
I actually didn’t think of that. Just that when I finished creating one of the games I have, I showed my mother. And she said maybe I can submit for the individual entry, just need to change it to the coronavirus theme.
So what was your team submission?
Our Scratch project was about an animated story where in 2050, maybe we would be in a place where there is no coronavirus because we would have no choice but to move to another planet. The astronauts, while trying to find a vaccine for the virus, need to get away from land with coronavirus first so they escape to another planet. But the coronavirus got into the bodies of one of the people in the spaceship and followed us.
I’m very proud of you, I think this is a very good example of how you have gone beyond just attending coding classes.
What about your individual submission?
The security guard is like a tower defence, and it is fighting against the coronavirus who is trying to enter the land.
Does it resemble any of the games created in class?
For my individual submission, it resembles a little bit like the Tower Defence game we created in class.
Describe your role in your team
I was the one to do the codes and also to come up with the concepts. My friend will help me when I encounter any problems.
So essentially, you are the game developer
What were some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Erm, one of the times when I was trying to change a code by adding something new, not sure what happened, maybe I accidentally removed a code and the virus did not appear. So the game did not work. So I had to look through the code blocks one by one and in the end I had to ask the teacher. But in the end I found the bug by myself. In the end, I decided to not use the new technique and just redo another game.
What advice would you give to your friends or peers who are keen to join competitions like you?
To be very tidy and neat with your codes. Because when I was working on my individual project, there were a lot of sprites and codes and it is very confusing and so sometimes I might accidentally delete a code and I can’t find my mistake.
To be confident and just do it! Even if you lose, at least you have tried.
How has Kodecoon Academy helped you in this competition?
I learned Scratch and it was very detailed. For example, the step by step of doing things and what are variables etc and that helped me with the competition.
How has Kodecoon Academy helped you in your programming journey so far?
It has been very useful because I learned how to apply what I have learned to create projects and I can now join competitions. Also I learned to be more confident and participate in class when the teacher asks questions and most of the time I answered the questions correctly.
Kai Ze, together with his team, won the Best Coding Award. Check out their group project here. His individual submission won the Most Aesthetically Designed Award. You can view his project here.
Learning to code is not just about knowing how to write scripts in different programming languages. It is always best to view programming languages and platforms as mere tools for creation. How can we help our children of tomorrow develop critical thinking skills and transform ideas into concrete realities?
Find out about Kodecoon Academy’s progressive weekly classes and holiday camps here.