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Computational Minds - ISA Students Excel in Coding and Computing Challenges

Computational thinking, a strategic problem-solving process that breaks down complex problems into manageable pieces, is a skill cultivated at ISA from an early age. By incorporating coding into the curriculum, we are not only imparting this skill in classes but also encouraging students to develop their abilities through extracurricular activities and nationwide competitions.

Our students recently delved into the world of computational thinking by participating in the Bebras UK Computing Challenge in early December. Supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the University of Oxford, this initiative aims to foster critical thinking, logistical abilities, and problem-solving skills. ISA students across middle and high school passionately engaged in this challenge.

This year, the Bebras UK Computing Challenge drew in 41 students from ISA. Open to all, the competition involved a series of challenges, each lasting 40 minutes, with tasks increasing in complexity.

Shashi Krishna, our Computing Teacher in Middle and High School, shared insights, stating, “The whole process has been very educational for me too and has helped me gauge at what level our students perform on a national level. I know my students are incredibly capable, talented, and focused individuals, but to receive external validation for their logical reasoning skills is fantastic.”

Furthermore, the top 10% performers were invited to participate in the Oxford University Computing Challenge, a more programming-specific segment. Eight boys and one girl from ISA embraced this advanced challenge, taking on complex tasks that further fostered their logical reasoning skills.

Shashi emphasised, “We have very strong logicians at ISA and the next level of the computing challenge allows our most talented logical reasoners to challenge themselves with an even more complex task.”

Many of the logic-based challenges in the competition resonated with tasks studied in ISA classrooms involving breaking down problems into manageable components to develop computer programs, seamlessly aligned with classroom projects. Both competitions not only tested comprehension and problem-solving skills but also emphasised the importance of time management – a crucial life skill.

On their experiences, the students commented:

"Bebras and OUCC were both very difficult, but it was a pretty fun experience. I never took a test that was fun and hard at the same time, until I took these two tests." - Eric Gagiu "I was very proud of getting a good score in Bebras and very much enjoyed the experience as I find logic puzzles and challenges fun and.” - Daniel Higgins

"I learnt a lot from the Bebras/OUCC. It strove me to persevere and step outside my comfort zone. It was a challenging experience but I also enjoyed participating. The challenge was indubitably a fun and effective way of learning new things and testing what I already knew. At the end I left with a sense of accomplishment when I had finished." - Adaora (Chanel) Ezunu

"The Bebras was a really nice opportunity for me to use my problem-solving skills. It was a really fun competition to do.” - Deepan Thangavelu

We are thrilled that the students gave their best, enhanced their skills, and were pioneers in taking part in this competition at ISA.

Out of 20,799 participants and only 237 awarded with distinction, we are delighted to share that two of ISA students, Daniel Martin and Ivan Delozari, secured Certificates of Distinction, showcasing their exceptional computational skills.

Shashi expressed pride in their achievements, stating, “I’m very proud of our students, and they are quite rightly proud of themselves. They really didn’t think they would get this far, so it’s very exciting and great for them to see how well they are doing against the best computational thinkers in the country.”

Another coding challenge is the involvement in the Astro Pi challenge, where students are actively working on code submissions to the International Space Station (ISS). This engaging event allows teams to have their programs run in space by astronauts. With 4-5 groups participating, Shashi is guiding students with strong coding skills through this unique challenge, fostering creativity and innovation.

As the deadline for submission approaches, ISA students eagerly anticipate the results of their endeavours in the Astro Pi challenge, demonstrating the school's commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals with a flair for computational thinking and coding.

Keep an eye on our website and socials for more updates on their coding journey!

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