I2P – Python Lesson 4 (Part 1) – Reflection

Python Code:

from random import randint
vname = input("Hi there. What's your name?")
vnumber=(randint(0,50))
vguess=int(input("I am thinking of a number between 1 and 50. Would you like to take a guess?"))
while vguess != vnumber:
    if vguess < vnumber:
        print("Too low.")
        vguess=(int(input("Try again!")))
    if vguess > vnumber:
        print("Too high.")
        vguess=(int(input("Try again!")))
    if vguess == vnumber:
        print("You got it! Well done,", vname, "!")

Pseudo Code:

#Guess the Number Game - Pseudo code
#Import random number
#Name = Input "What is your name?"
#Number = imported random number between 1-50
#Guess = Input "I am thinking of a number between 1 and 50. Would you like to take a guess?"
#While Guess is not equal to Number,
    #if Guess is less than number,
        #say "Too low"
        #Input "Try again!"
    #if Guess is more than number,
        #say "Too high"
        #Input "Try again!"
    #if Guess is equal to number,
        #say "You got it! Well done, [Name]!"

Screen Recording of the Game:

In this lesson, we made a simple game of “Guess My Number”, applying our knowledge of while loops and if loops. In this process, I learned a lot about how small details contribute to whether the game works or not, for example not adding a colon at the end of a string would affect the function. We managed to code this game by assigning three variables: vName, vNumber, and vGuess. vName was the customer’s name, so we could congratulate them personally at the end if they got it right. vNumber was the randomised number that the computer generates between 1 and 50. vGuess was what the customer’s input after being given some clues as to what the answer was.

After assigning these variables, we used one while loop to encase the entire code. Simply put, if the customer’s first guess was not equal (or in the code, not equal was denoted by ‘!=’) to the answer, then the computer would need to run through three sub if functions. If vGuess was less than vNumber, then the computer would say “Too low”, then say “Try again!” enabling the customer to input another guess. If vGuess was more than vNumber, then the computer would say “Too high”, then say “Try again!” by letting the customer input another guess. If, however, vGuess was equal to vNumber, then the computer would simply say “You got it! Well done, [vName]!”, and the game would end there.

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In this lesson, we also went on Codecademy and went through a series of exercises learning about basic Python functions. For example, they taught us different types of data types (eg. booleans), whitespace, comments, and arithmetic operations, and strings with their methods. The types of data included booleans, which are functions that only have two values (true or false), and variables, where you can set something to anything you want. Whitespace was the indentation before a string of code, for example you must indent the string after a colon is issued. After learning comments had to be used with a hashtag, we learned different simple math operations, such as ‘**’ means ‘to the power of’, or ‘^’. From Codecademy, we also learned the real definition of a ‘string’, and specific tasks for strings. ‘len()’ gave the number of characters in a word, or the length of the word, and ‘str()’ simply made a string of code into a value. ‘lower()’ and ‘upper()’ were methods to make a string capitalized or not. Examples are shown below in the pictures.

I2P – Python Lesson 3 – Reflection

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#recap
vNum1 = 1
vNum2 = 3
if vNum1 < vNum2:
    print(vNum1, "is smaller")
vNum3=2
while vNum3 <6:
    print(vNum3)
    vNum3=vNum3+1
for i in range(0,10):
    print(i)

#challenge4
vName=input("What is your name?")
vLetter=vName
print(vLetter)
i=0
for vLetter in vName:
    print(vName[i])
    i=i+1
#pseudo game - Guess the Number game
vNumber =randrang(1,50)
vAnswer= input("Can you guess my number? It is between 1 and 50")
If vAnswer > vNumber, then print("My number is lower than your guess.")
If vAnswer < vNumber, then print("My number is higher than your guess."):
    vAnswer2 = input("Please guess again.")
If vNumber = vAnswer, then print("You guessed correctly! Good job.")

Significance of pseudo code and flowcharts

In this lesson, we learned what pseudo code was, and why we use flow charts and pseudo code. Pseudo code is basically code written in plain English, intended for humans to read instead of computers to read. Pseudo code is useful for programmers because it helps the programmer/another person to easily understand what the code is trying to do. Code can also be represented by flow charts, as seen in the second picture where the “process” functions were noted with pink, while the “decision” was noted with green. Flow charts not only can be easily understood by humans, but give a visual representation of what the code is trying to convey.

If, while, and for statements

We also learned – or reviewed – about if, while, and for (range) statements. “If” statements, seen under #recap, has two conclusions: true or false. Given variables, the “if” statement sets up conditional statement and executes strings with different results. The “while” loop is also similar to the “if” statement, but it’s a specific type of “if” statement where if the condition is false, then the program will proceed. An example of the “while” loop is also under the #recap part. The “for” statement determines the variable “i” within a given range and prints off all numbers within the range. Usually, there are three numbers in the parentheses that will indicate the starting number, the end number (excluding itself), and the increments that it increases/decreases by. In the example of my code, I didn’t put a third number, so it assumed to print from 0-9 inclusive.

Guess the Number game

We didn’t finish the number game in class today, but we did start it. We wrote most of our process down on paper, and only managed to start copying it down in code. As you can see, we tried to program the computer to first choose a random number between 1-50 (vNumber), then use the input function to ask “Can you guess my number? It is between 1 and 50”. We labelled that variable as vAnswer, and if the person we asked’s answer was above vNumber, then the computer should say “My number is lower than your guess”. At the same time, if vAnswer was less than vNumber, then the computer should print “My number is higher than your guess”. After printing these two messages, the computer should ask the person again through the input function “Please guess again” and loop back to whether vAnswer is bigger or smaller than vNumber. This is only for if vNumber is not equal to vAnswer, and if it is in the case that the person has guessed right, then the computer should print “You guessed correctly! Good job”.

Feed Your Pet Algorithm

The two pictures attached in this blog post are pictures of the pseudo code and flow chart that Weilyn and I created for how to feed a pet. As you can see, the difference is that pseudo code has more words and sentences while the flow chart has more arrows or diagrams to show the code. In the flow chart, the rectangle boxes represent process (something that the computer requires the person to do), and the diamond shapes represent decisions (when the person has a choice, and what the choices will lead to). It took more time than expected to write a simple algorithm for how to feed a pet, with detailed steps including walking to the kitchen to get food.

I2P – Python Lesson 2 – Reflection

Figure 1
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Figure 2

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Figure 3

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Figure 4

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*There are no screenshots for the results of this because there’s something wrong with my PyCharm Edu.*

In this class we learned about integers, floats, concatenating strings, slicing, lengths, ‘if’ statements, ‘while’ loops, and range. The integer function only works for numbers and does not work for words, since it rounds numbers to whole numbers. For example, if you have int(4.3), it will round down to 4, since 4 is an integer. Floats, in a way, do the opposite of the integer function. The function of a float is to convert the given numbers into floating point numbers (numbers that are more accurate because they have decimals). For example, if you say float(5/2), then it will give you 2.5 instead of rounded to 2.

We also learned the concatenation of strings is adding to strings together with the “+” symbol. You can use the “+” between two variables, but you cannot use the “+” between a string and a numeric value, as shown in Figure 3. Slicing would simply mean taking out those digits. For example, when I write print(June[2:4), it will take out the 2nd and 4th letter of that word and only show the 1st and 3rd word. If you put nothing in the first bracket, then the program assumes to print the entire string. If you put nothing in the last bracket then the program assumes to slice all the way to the end. The length function counts how many letters are in the string, seen as len(string).

An “if” statement tests if one condition is true or false, called the conditional test. The ‘if’ statement executes a block of statements based on the result from the conditional test, but will only execute if the condition is true. For example, as shown in Figure 4, given is 5, and is 2, then the program tells that if x>y, then execute the program which is to print that x “is bigger”. The “while” loop is similar to the “if” statement, where if the condition is true, then the program is required to execute a specific command. But if the condition is false, then the program can continue with the program. This loop function will make the program continue repeating this process until there is no more left to do.

The range function generates a list of numbers which is really helpful for loops. The range function has three components: the first number is the starting number of the sequence, the second is the end, where it generates numbers up to but not including. The third (if there is a third) would be the difference between each number in the sequence. In Figure 4, the starting number would be 0, it would end before 20. So the list of number would go up by 2 up to 20, so it would be: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 because 20 is not included.

I2P – Python Lesson 1 – Reflection

Figure 1

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Figure 2

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Figure 3

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Figure 4

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Figure 5
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Figure 6

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In today’s lesson, we learned the basic “print function” which helped us show a message to the users. For example, in Figure 1, we learned how to use the print function to show the message “Hello world”, as seen in Figure 3. To display a message using the print function, you have to type: print(“message“). To display it multiple times, simply put an asterisk (*) and the number of times you want it to be displayed, for example I wanted my message to be displayed 3 times, so I wrote “print(“Hello world” *3)”. We also learned that the hashtag (#) can be used as personal messages that won’t be displayed. In my example, I used # to label what I was doing in Figure 1.

We also learned how to integrate basic mathematics into programming. For example, without the quotations, then the Python will solve for the value if there is a given equation. For example, I could write: print(3*4), and in the results Python would show “12” instead of “3*4”.  Another thing we learned was how to use variables, which are like “boxes” on which you can store any value into. In Figure 2, my variable is VName, where I can store the name of the user for future use.

We used the variables when we learned the input function, which is used when you want to find out what your user wants by asking them to input the value. In my example, I wrote “input(“What is your name?”)” as my variable, so that I can later write down their input as a message, as shown in Figure 2 and 4. The input function can be used as a tool to figure out what the customers want by giving them the choice to input what they want. This way, it will be easier for us to understand what the customers want and create an empathy statement for projects.

The last thing we learned today was the difference between “integers” and “strings”. When we were given the task to create a timetable that the user prefers, most people made a mistake by missing out the “integer” function, as shown in Figure 6. The integer function lets Python know that instead of displaying the number x amount of times, it should be multiplying the number out (Figure 5). On the other hand, “strings” would be just lines of code that tell Python to display the number x amount of times, or in other words, a sequence of commands.

I2P – Prototyping and Redefining Problems Reflection

Presenting… 

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Our ad video: 

Infographic: Here

  • Describe the problem in less than 3 sentences, explaining the what, why, who, how of the problem. Mash together two ideas and create a catchy slogan that sums up your ideas.

We found that one of the reasons that students weren’t doing their homework or attending meetings was because they didn’t know what they had or when to go. As we dug deeper to find the issue, we found that most of these students did not have a system of organization to help keep track of what to do and their schedules, so they often were seen as irresponsible. We also found that most of these students didn’t want to use their planners because it didn’t fit their style or wasn’t effective for them. So we want to help these students by creating a planner that will fit just right for them. Your way. Your planner. 

  • What is the vision and mission of your solution?

Our aim of this is to collect data to making the perfect planner customized for you. A platform where you can make your planner what you want and is still stylish and functional. A planner where everything is formatted the way you think, the way you organize, and the way you plan. It will be perfectly fit for you so that you can organize and plan efficiently, making work much easier. This planner won’t have to be something considered as homework, but something you enjoy using to get on top of things.Our ultimate goal is to have everyone using their customized planner to efficiently organize their life, that way nobody has to suffer from disorganisation.

  • Who are the stakeholders? What will be the impact your solution make to them?

Our stakeholders are mainly HKIS students who want to use some system of organization, but haven’t found the right system yet. These students will mainly be positively affected by our planner because our customizable planner will help them keep track of things in the way they think so that it makes sense to them. Hopefully, this will help students organize their life so that they can work more efficiently and achieve higher goals. We also could have adults as our stakeholders, especially teachers and parents (eg. Dragonshop ladies) who have a very busy life. These planners can help them sort out what meetings or what appointments they have, as well as what to plan for each class, and will generally make the teacher’s life easier.

  • Review the possible solutions, rate and analyze the pros and cons of each of them.

One of the problems we encountered was how we should format the layout of the planner. We often found ourselves asking, should we do daily, weekly, or monthly format? We found that the statistics for this question amongst those we surveyed was generally spread out evenly, so it was very hard to decide which one to use. Our solution was to include both monthly (at the beginning of the month) and weekly so that people have a choice of whether they want to use it or not. We excluded the idea of the daily layout and instead put it as a special offer, so if you want daily, you would have to request for it. Pros include that we satisfy all three types of layout, but the cons would be that we cannot reach a general consensus on which layout would be best for the public. I think our solution was generally effective as

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 6.02.48 PM

Another problem we encountered was the customisability of the planner. It’s hard to create a planner that is fit for every individual and, at the same time, not take specific orders. So our solution was to create multiple options for the audience to choose from, instead of already choosing one for them. This included having the option to choose the cover design, and we also created an alternate option of requesting which layout (daily, weekly, monthly) they wanted. Also, another idea we had for customisability is to give the choice to the student on whether they want to design their own cover and submit it to us to print on their planner, which would give them unlimited freedom to their cover page. This proved advantageous because not only do we not have to take individual requests (unless they send requests) for each single student, but the students can also choose from our options or create their own design. Below are some of the cover designs we have thought of so far. a3e60c24-98c5-4d25-9c88-05f8c0d10d8d

  • What are the potential challenges you may face?

One challenge we are still facing is the idea of whether people want electronic planners or paper planners. In this generation, many would prefer electronic, but our lack of experience in coding such advanced systems makes us stuck at this step of creating a customizable electronic planner. We plan to face this challenge by first asking them on the survey if they want electronic or paper, then if they choose electronic they will be directed to another survey that will show them the options for the electronic planner, and same for the paper. We also plan to face this challenge by learning quickly the coding skills to create a easily customizable planner.

  • Tasks to complete the solution and possible prototypes you can make.

Tasks: learn coding for electronic planner, create an e-platform for those to discover the two prototypes of planner we have, which are the electronic and paper planners. We also need to start finalising the paper planner and printing it out.

What we’ve done so far: Create a paper prototype with monthly and weekly layout, design several different cover pages, surveyed people on what they thought about our planners, programmed a spooky to-do list for the electronic planner.

  • Come up with something you can test and prototype. Break it down into small pieces.

So far, we’ve tested the paper planner prototype by surveying people on whether they would buy it and why or why not. We also asked them what could be improved and the amount of money they would spend on the planner. Our paper planner consists examples of the first month, with the following layout for weekly.

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We found that most of the people we surveyed found that our planner was good in terms of space and how it was catered towards a high schooler’s needs. It was also said to be very glamorous and user friendly, especially how the planner was formatted in both weekly and monthly format.

Some things that people suggested we work on was combining the “current” and “ongoing” projects section because separating them was unnecessary. Also, some suggested that the designs could have been more gender neutral, since most of the designs are feminine and would generally not fit more masculine people.

Giving them choices from our four sample cover designs, we found that around half preferred the one “for everyone”, while one fourth liked glamorous and the other fourth liked the nature one. Here were the statistical results.

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Surprisingly, in this survey, we found that our results about electronic vs paper planner similar. In this survey, we found that 75% of the people preferred paper, while in the last survey around 66% preferred paper. This means that we should expect a higher demand in paper planners than electronic planners.

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.20.58 PM  before prototypingScreen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.21.01 PMafter

Finally, when we asked the price range and whether they would buy it or not, around 50% of the people would pay under $100 HKD for this planner, while 37% of the people wouldn’t buy it. Those who didn’t want to buy it said that if we finished the designs and the final planner, they would consider buying it.

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In general, here’s what we need to do next:

1. Finish prototyping the paper planner

2. Create more choices for cover designs

3. Start learning programming for the electronic planner

4. With the finished paper prototype with more choices of cover designs, give out another survey to see what can be improved.

With this new feedback, our group will definitely strive to continue working on improvements until we fulfil our customer’s needs and publish a final version.

What does Design Thinking process have to do with programming?

The Design Thinking process helps us identify the main cause of the problem and how to properly tackle the issue. It helps us reach directly to the customer’s needs instead of guessing or solving what we think is the issue. In the case of programming, the Design Thinking process helps us program the the product that will satisfy our customer’s needs and go through the prototyping procedure. It will help us first understand the customer’s need, create a prototype according to the customer’s needs, and getting feedback from testing our prototypes. This will help us create the most suitable product for our customers in the most effective way.

I can identify the cause of the problem and understand the customer’s needs.

I can create a prototype based on the customer’s needs.

I can test the prototype and further improve the prototype given feedback.

Development of the Pecha Kucha

Problem: Students aren’t effectively using their planners to organize their homework, leading to people not doing their homework and getting bad grades

We discovered this problem when one group member started complaining about how she couldn’t organize their homework because the school planner wasn’t out yet. She said that she was constantly forgetting what homework she had and often asked her friends what homework there was, making her stressed out because she always didn’t know what homework there was. We asked the group member what could be improved about this issue, and she said if only there was a planner that could be customized towards her needs that could help her effectively organize her work.

Mission: To collect data to making the perfect planner customized for you. A platform where you can make your planner what you want and is still stylish and functional. To make the perfect planner just for you

Surveying Process:

We made 10 questions that could help us collect data about what planner would be most useful and what the general population thought about planners. The questions below are the ones we used in the survey:

  1. Do you own a planner? How often do you use your planner
  2. Do you find the planner helpful? Why or why not?
  3. Does style matter more or does function matter more to you?
  4. What do you find most useful about your planner?
  5. What do you find most frustrating about your planner?
  6. Do you prefer electronic or paper planner better? Why?
  7. What layout of planner do you find the most helpful?
  8. What type of design of planner do you prefer?
  9. What makes you want to or make you reluctant to use your planner?
  10. Would you like to have a customizable planner or a predetermined one? Why?

As the result, we found that most people found the planner helpful because it helped them organize and often reminded them about their meetings or assignments, with around 71.4% of the 21 people we surveyed saying they used their planner everyday. Another 71.4% of the people preferred to have a more functional planner rather than a stylish one, while around one third preferred to have a daily formatted planner, and the other two thirds preferred weekly or other. Around two thirds of the people preferred paper planners over electronic planners, even when one of the main drawbacks of paper planner was having to pull it out every time the teacher mentioned homework. We found trends where people who preferred to have a functional planner would rather have a minimalistic designed planner, while people who preferred style would rather have a colourful and flowery planner. Around 11 people preferred to have a customizable planner compared to a predetermined, store-bought one.

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Difficulties with Pecha Kucha

One of the main challenges of using Pecha Kucha was having to time every single slide so that it was precisely 20 seconds or below, as this restricted a lot of what could be on your slide and what you could talk about. Another challenge was having to deal with the fact that you cannot have any words on the slides, and even pictures couldn’t have any words on it. Yet another difficulty with using Pecha Kucha was deciding what to say in those 20 slides, because we have to fill up all 20 slides with at least some content. These were some of the challenges I faced and most of them I have been able to overcome with time and patience.

Empathy Stories

We went around the school and interviewing people in our school, asking two questions:
1. What is the saddest moment in your life? Describe it in one sentence.
2. What is the happiest moment in your life? Describe it in one sentence.

Below are some people’s answers with their picture.

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“My daughter got two awards for Chinese dancing!”

Reflection: When we asked her these two questions, she answered that the happiest moment in her life was when her daughter got two awards for Chinese dancing, and she said that she didn’t have any sad moments. I learned that she was a very bright and happy person in both real life and when we asked her the two interview questions. I found that she was really proud of her daughter’s two awards and seemed really elated to share with us about the experience. I think that this picture correctly displays her happiness and how proud she is of her daughter.

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“I love being with friends”

Reflection: This person’s answer to the first question was that she felt sad after leaving middle school, but despite that she loved being around friends and new people. Through the a conversation, we found out that she was a really bright and positive person who loved hanging out with her friends and never seemed to land on a negative note. I think this picture really shows her positive attitude and cheerful personality.

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“The saddest moment was when my father died”

Reflection: This person said that the saddest moment that they experienced was when his father died, and the happiest moment was when his first son was born. When I spoke to this person, I felt like he was a very sincere, serious person who would reflect on life’s challenges in order to learn from them. I think the photo correctly represents him because you can see that he is the type of person who would accept both positive and negative experiences.

Redesigning the Backpack: Reflection

Weilyn wanted a new backpack because she wanted to fit more stuff into her bag.

So we designed this prototype for her…

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Was your initial design the same or different than your final design?

My initial design was very different from my final design as we realised that we couldn’t do many of the features that I put in my initial design. In my initial design, I wanted a luggage handle and four wheels for convenience and a lunch box clipped on the outside. For the interior of the initial design, I wanted at least 3 pockets for folders or computers. In a way, we did have some features from our initial design in our final design, for example the clipped on bag and the laptop folders. But the major differences was that the final design had much more features than the initial design.

Where did you get stuck?

We got stuck multiple times when we were building the straps because they were very not durable  and we didn’t want to copy other groups’ ideas. So when we found bubble wrap we decided to create padding for the straps to make it more original. We also got stuck on the idea of being waterproof, but we got over that by taping the small bag and adding a built in umbrella.

When did you get your best idea? Describe the moment

Our best moment came at the very end, when we decided to add the umbrella because we thought it would be convenient to have a built in bag. It was around right before when the time ended when Weilyn brought out the umbrella and taped it to the bag so that it would cover both the backpack and the wearer.

How well did you capture your partners’ needs?

My partner required a lot of space for the bag, and I think we essentially delivered it well because the bag had a lot of interior compartments and also lots of space for the other smaller, everyday items like phones or keys. The small detachable bag also was small enough to be convenient and big enough to hold everyday items.

Intro to Programming: August 17, 2016

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Today for Intro to Programming we had to write out the procedure for how we tie our shoelaces. The picture above is my shoe, and the procedure below is what I wrote for how I tie my shoelaces.

  1. Hold each string with separate hands
  2. Cross over
  3. Put the left string through the bottom loop below the cross
  4. Pull both ends of both strings
  5. Hold each string again with separate hands
  6. Make a loop with the left string and hold intersection between thumb and index with left hand
  7. Hold middle with middle finger
  8. Use right hand to loop clockwise around the left loop
  9. Grab the looped right string from under the right loop
  10. Pull both strings

What was most successful?

I think the most successful was that my partner was able to understand and successfully learn how to tie her shoelaces my way. She understood the instructions clear and didn’t require any further instructions to learn how to do it. This was, in my opinion, the most successful because the objective of this activity is to create a procedure that enables the partner to be able to tie their shoelaces the same way you do and teach them how you do it.

What could be improved?

I think that I could improve by adding pictures to each step to make it very clear so that they know which part of the string I’m talking about. For example, in step 9, I could add a picture of the string and circle in red the part of the string that you need to grab and pull. I could also incorporate multimedia into the procedures so that its very clear how to do each step.

What did you learn today?

I learned how programming must be very detailed and cannot have any assumptions in the process. Programming is like explaining a math problem to a 4 year old, where you have to explain every step you do with the most precise details. Also, in programming, it’s better to use accurate numbers to express the degree or level you want to, for example, turn. Especially towards robots and computers who speak in numbers, it would be better to use numbers to get the result you want (For example, turn right at a 45 degree angle).

 

Below is the set of procedure that I wrote for my partner to reach to the nearest door while blindfolded.

  1. Stand up
  2. Walk back two steps
  3. Turn right 90 degrees
  4. Walk forward 3 steps
  5. Turn left 90 degrees
  6. Walk forward 4 big steps
  7. Turn right 90 degrees
  8. Take one big step forward.
  9. Turn left 90 degrees
  10. Walk forward 6 big steps
  11. Turn right 90 degrees
  12. Reach out with your hands
  13. Walk forward and reach for handle

Grade 8 Reflection – Playlist

Flaws by Bastille, Bad Blood

This song is about the singer having flaws and weaknesses that he’s trying to hid (“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve, and I have always buried them deep beneath the ground”). The singer addressing someone who accepts their flaws and doesn’t care about them. He reaches out to the person and they help him, convincing him to accept himself and embrace failure (“Dig them up. Let’s finish what we’ve started. Dig them up, so nothing’s left untouched”). The central message of this song is to show how we all tear ourselves apart to try to be perfect when we should just accept ourselves (“Look at the wonderful mess that we made, we pick ourselves undone”)

I chose this song because in the second semester of 7th grade, I’d experienced some major failures that I couldn’t get over. I tried to “bury them deep beneath the ground” and hide them from others. I couldn’t accept that I could fail like this, but over the summer between 7th grade and 8th grade, my family helped me embrace failure. They helped me realise that life wasn’t perfect and that what was done cannot be undone. That helped me start strong in 8th grade, with renewed determination to not be beaten down by failure.

 

(clean version)

Focus by Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman

Although Focus by Ariana Grande might seem like song about love, Grande herself announced that there is a deeper meaning to this song. In the first verse, “I know what I came to do and that ain’t gonna change. So go ahead and talk your talk cause I won’t take the bait”, Grande declares that she doesn’t care what the world thinks about her, she’s just going to be herself and keep working hard. When she says “focus on me”, she actually means focus on who she is. She wants people to focus on who she is, not what she looks like, what she’s wearing, the colour of her skin etc. She wants the world to know who she is a person. To quote her exact words, she said “The more we realise how much we have in common , the more we listen to each other, the more one we become”.

I was inspired by this song and how Grande wants people to know that she is not just the looks and the fashion, she’s more than that. So I was inspired by her message, and in the beginning of 8th grade, I chose not only to embrace my flaws and imperfections, but also to make new friends and focus on who they are, and not what they are.

 

Chasing the Sun by The Wanted, Word of Mouth

Chasing the Sun by the Wanted is not only a song about partying and enjoying life, but it’s also about pursuing your dreams. “They said this day wouldn’t come, we refused to run, we’ve only just begun, you’ll find us chasing the sun” talks about how people discouraged the singer(s) and told them this dream was impossible in the beginning, but the singer(s) refused to be brought down by words and continued to pursue their dreams. I also interpret this song as one where it tells you to aim for higher goals, even when others discourage you. If you think about it, chasing the sun is like trying to catch the moon. It’s impossible, yet this song is telling you to pursue the impossible, because nothing is impossible.

During the course of 8th grade, this song inspired me to set higher expectations and to keep on going even when others discourage you. This song told me that nothing is impossible, and with time and effort (We’ve only just begun, until forever comes, you’ll find us chasing the sun), anything can be achieved.

 

Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz, Black Star Elephant

This song, by Nico & Vinz, is about following what you believe in and not doing what everybody else is doing. In this song, the person isn’t sure the road he’s travelling is the right one, but he follows his heart and believes that it will lead him somewhere (Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay? Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?). The person in this song wants to do something unique and follow a path that others have not travelled on yet, even when he can’t find where the road leads to (I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing, just ’cause everybody doing what they all do. If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow, I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home). The song encourages others to not let people control their lives and not be effected by other people’s opinions (walk, walk, don’t look back, always do what you decide. Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel). The person in the song is telling those who are different and seeking a different path in life that they are not alone and to fight for what they believe in (Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel). 

Reflecting back on this year, I think this is the song that summarised 8th grade the most. Ever since I transitioned from Upper Primary to Middle School, I’d always been the ‘follower’, and not the ‘leader’. I’d always walk in other people’s shadows and footsteps, never hesitating to think about making my own path. It was until after 7th grade did I realise that for me, following people’s footsteps just wasn’t going to work. For me, the best path was my own. This song encouraged me that there is nothing wrong with following what I believe in and going against the flow, and assuring me that I wasn’t alone in this journey.

 

Drag Me Down by One Direction, Made in the A.M

In this song, One Direction sings of not letting others discourage and humiliate one. This song sings about how the singer will let nothing stop them (All these lights, they can’t blind me, with your love, nobody can drag me down). It gives an upbeat melody that emboldens others to not let anything drag them down. This song was produced after One Direction’s member Zayn Malik left, so it was sung with passion in a way that the band members were not going to let Zayn’s departure drag them down.

I chose this song because it inspired me to keep going and never give up even when life was tediously challenging. It renewed and rekindled the fire of determination that burned in the beginning of the year (I got a fire for a heart, I’m not scared of the dark). In many ways, it helped me through challenging obstacles in the course of 8th grade.

 

Who We Are by Imagine Dragons, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This song is a song produced for the famous movie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s a song about accepting who you are as a person (It’s who we are, doesn’t matter if we’ve gone too far, doesn’t matter if it’s all okay, doesn’t matter if it’s not our day). This songs says that it doesn’t matter if you fail in life, if you succeed in life, because in the end, you’re still who you are. Other people might judge you for being who you are (they say we’re crazy), but like what the previous song said, don’t let them drag you down.

I chose this song because it represents how I’ve changed as a person from when I was in 7th grade to now in 8th grade. It shows how when I was in 7th grade, I would care too much about everything, but now, through 8th grade, I’ve learned to accept who we are and live with it. There’s also a verse that really fits into middle school to high school transitioning: What we are don’t look clear. ‘Cause it’s all uphill from here. In this verse, the person questions their identity, just as we as teenagers are searching for our identity. “‘Cause it’s all uphill from here” represents how it will only get more stressful and intensive in high school life.

 

See Me Now by Little Mix, Salute

See Me Now is an uplifting song also talking about overcoming obstacles after failing or being discouraged. It starts out with this verse: I feel the rain on my skin, wash away all the pain I was in. I see the sun in the sky, no longer know how it feels to cry. This verse means now the main character is free from all the pain and misery that they were once in, and the song continues to say how it’s their time to shine (Somebody turn out the light, ’cause right now must be my time to shine). This song also has a reminisce feel to it, when the verse says “They said I couldn’t, they told me that I wouldn’t but if they could see me now. They’d see I’m something, that I’m not scared of nothing and the world will hear me shout“. So this song inspired many to keep fighting, until you are no longer afraid. (Drop me in the ocean, I’ll swim. Put me in the lions, I’ll roar. There’s a survivor within, so much stronger than I was before).

I chose this song because it illustrates the change I’ve been through since 7th grade until now. Before, people told me I couldn’t do this, or I can’t do that, and I believed them. I agreed with them and let them drag me down, and that was my mistake. Learning from my flaws, I didn’t let that happen in 8th grade, and the change I’ve been through has been roughly illustrated by this song, See Me Now. 

 

See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (feat Charlie Puth), Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Even when this popular hit was dedicated to Furious 7 actor Paul Walker, See You Again is also a nostalgic song about friendship. Described to have a sense of longing and sadness but also uplifting as well, this song not only talks about the mourning of a lost friend, but can also be about someone you’ll miss but have hopes in seeing again (We’ve come a long way, from where we began. Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again). It beautifully illustrates the power of friendships and how they are never truly lost when someone dies (Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gon’ be with me for the last ride). There is a hopeful and yearning tone that leaves the audience on a huge cliffhanger.

I chose this song as because in the end of 8th grade, many people are leaving and there are many farewells that we ought to bid. So when I was thinking about these departures, I thought of the wistful yet hopeful melodies of this song. I thought of all the friends that had come with us for so long, and how these friendships had to be worn thin over distance (A friendship turn to a bond, and that bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost). As our journey ends, this song can be the “bond that will never be broken” in our friendships.

 

Album Cover:

Grade 8 Reflection Album

Full Playlist: