Featured Maker: Sai Likes to Code and Play Soccer!
Meet our newest Featured Maker, 6th grader Sai from Greenwood, South Carolina! He likes coding and plays soccer. He also likes swimming and playing the piano, and he’s been taking Taekwondo for four years. Sai recently talked with us about his experience coding with Tynker and being a Tynker Code Jam winner!
How did you get introduced to Tynker?
We did the Hour of Code and we used Tynker for that. And I thought it was kind of cool. And when our teachers didn’t really continue Tynker, I went home. And I was like, wow, Tynker is pretty nice, so maybe I should do Tynker.
I did other coding platforms before, like code.org. And code.org doesn’t really have like a broad spectrum where you can create any sort of project you want. They have certain things that you have to do with it and with Tynker, you can make anything you’d like, yeah, a lot of actors, sound, and everything. It’s more diverse.
How did you learn to use Tynker?
I used a lot of the courses, they’re really helpful, they help you understand what each brick would do. I learned a lot after I used the tutorials, a lot of stuff I didn’t even know you could do.
My favorite block is the broadcast block, I use it a lot in my code like “when one actor says this.” I use broadcast and then the next actor says something else. I use it a lot because the actors can sort of communicate between each other and it makes the code more diverse in real life.
Have your coding skills improved since you started with Tynker?
Well, before I was like, they’re this many blocks, I can only do this. And then after I did Tynker, I was like, wow, there are lots more blocks that I could use. Like, tons more options, and I made better projects because I had better opportunities. There are many more blocks and other things. I still don’t know all of them! There are lots.
How does it feel to be a Code Jam winner?
Well, I was sort of surprised. I mean, I create projects for the fun of it. And winning would be nice. I mean, you can create projects and still get something out of it. Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool. Because I was hoping if I won, then maybe more people could be inspired by the projects that I made. I get inspired by other projects like that.
What’s the favorite project you’ve made so far?
Yeah, I have to admit, my favorite one was the one that I did for week one of the Code Jam. Fur Elise. I sort of made a piano song with code. Like every single note, I coded. And that was a new block, I think, in Tynker. Yeah, wasn’t there before. It was kind of cool, because I made every single note from code. It was a bit tough. I had to test it a few times, but overall it went pretty well!
It took me around to one or two days to figure out all the notes, play them on the piano, write them down, and make sure they actually sounded like they actually did on the actual piano. Because it takes like a long time to sort of get the notes and beats in sync with each other.
Are you going to do other Tynker Code Jam challenges?
Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty fun. Like, each week, there’s a new project to make. And it keeps me busy. I don’t have a lot to do because I have to stay at home and all, but it keeps me busy! Something to look forward to. Every week on Monday. I’m like, Ooh, there’s a new project. I should get up and start doing it.
What will you do with your prize money?
I was going to get gifts for my mom and dad and sister because they’re who really inspired me to make all my projects!
How do you start a project?
So, sometimes I remix other projects and look at what they did because other people have different strengths in coding! And I’m like, wow, they did this. That’s cool. So maybe I could look at this code and see what they did with it, then maybe I could do a project like that, too. Sometimes I get inspiration from things around me too.
What is your favorite way to use code?
I like storytelling, to be honest. I like making stories in every single code thing that I do. It’s fun making stories. I like communicating with other people indirectly.
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it?
I debug it and then I usually show it to my mom or dad and my sister. And if they like it and if I like it, then I publish it!
What are you planning to make next?
Well, next, we have the next week of the Code Jam, which is week five. And that’s already started. I already made a project for that, actually. It looks kind of cool. Since we have to use physics I made balls dropping down and the platform sort of shrinking.
What do you like about Tynker?
So the best thing about Tynker, I think, is that it has more opportunities. And there are lots of ways you can make projects, however you’d like. Because there are tons of blocks. And, there are lots of premade costumes, which really helps you out.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future?
Well, since the future is going into robots and stuff, I guess, if you learn to code, there are lots of job opportunities. Plus, learning to code can give you many other opportunities in life. Like, I have all my interests, and I can use code in them too. So it basically gives you a way to put all your interests into one.
Do you think other kids should try coding?
Yeah, I mean, coding is definitely fun. I think people should go into coding because it’s pretty versatile. I mean, you don’t have to know every single block, and you can still create great projects. So yeah, other kids should do Tynker because it’s a fun way to combine interests that you already have and create a new skill.
What advice would you give to kids starting with Tynker?
So I would say, first, do the tutorials because you want to make sure you sort of understand how the blocks interact with each other. And second, you should remix other people’s projects, and sort of see, like when this happens, this is the code that made it happen. So would this work with other blocks to make even better programs? So don’t just rush out and try to create big projects. Start small, and then over time, you’ll understand the blocks, and you’ll be able to create very good projects.
Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a biomedical engineer because you can use code in it! I like coding a lot. I also like helping other people out. So being a biomedical engineer is kind of a really good option for me.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
I like math because I like using operations. There’s always a new question to solve, and it’s sort of fun to figure out what everything is! Sometimes when I’m coding I have to create equations to see if this variable is equal to this, then do this. I use that in a lot of my projects.
Sai’s mother, Sireesha, spoke with us about her son coding with Tynker:
We are so proud of him! Initially, we didn’t know that he is doing coding, really. He did everything on his own. He got to know about Tynker from the school. And he just asked me permission. I’m not kind of the technical person, I just said, okay. Now, I realize that he is doing really good projects, and then we started encouraging him.
He’s a self-motivated person. We don’t have to force him to do anything. He is self-guided and self-motivated so we have trust in him. And later, we realized that he is doing really good projects in Tynker! It’s boosting up our confidence!
What benefits do you think coding has for your son?
Yeah, he has a lot of creativity. And so he is using all that creativity to develop unique projects. If you take his recent winning project, which is like how friends connect during a pandemic, he was inspired from the things which are happening in the world right now, and he created that unique project. And as he was telling, he made some boy playing soccer. He’s trying to incorporate all his interests into the coding to create beautiful projects. Coding helps the creativity to develop – the creativity and the imaginary things.
Do you feel that Sai is better prepared for the future?
Yeah, we think! We are trusting. I hope so. I saw that with the technology world now, it’s helping kids get prepared for the world. Tynker is helping them a lot. We live in a small city. We don’t have a lot of exposure. But Tynker is doing a great job, helping the kids all around the world. I want to say a big thank you!
We want to thank Sai and his mother for taking the time to speak with us about coding with Tynker. We can’t wait to see what Sai creates next – HAPPY CODING!