Week # 17

Impromptu speech

We kicked off this week with Aleena recapping the previous week for us, with Saba helping fill the gaps. Next up, continuing on the theme of public speaking, kids picked one topic each from the random topic generator. Again, they all prepared for about 3 minutes and got up to speak about. Alamgir did a fantastic job of telling us about “Shark meat”, adding in details about the decline in shark population due to extensive fishing.

I can clearly see that the kids are picking up confidence and are now able to speak to the audience much better than before. We will continue working on this for a few more weeks.


As we are going on a break for 2 weeks, the kids have to use this time to prepare a 5-minute speech/presentation. The topic is “What would I do if I was the prime minister?”, with the aim to convince the audience to vote for them.

Home budget

As per the task from last week, kids told us their estimates. As expected, the numbers were pretty low, some more than others. After the parents were done wishing for those numbers to be true, we walked them through the different types of expenses that need to be taken care of.

The main idea of the exercise is for the kids to understand a bit more about the practicalities of life and empathise with the parents. It’s important for them to realise that things don’t become available magically.


Talk to the parents at home about this and figure out the actual spend.

Secret language

A while ago I got the kids to come up with their secret language, this week I portrayed a different problem to them.

The group buddies are both spies, one of them is working undercover and living in the house of the dangerous people. For safety concerns, the undercover spy wants to communicate to the partner on how many bad guys are present inside the house. Unfortunately, the only thing they could use is the 2 lights on the external walls of the house, which the undercover spy can discretely turn on or off from inside the house. Given our situation, how can they communicate the number of bad guys in the house?

All of the kids came up with strategies that revolved around sequences like morse code. I pointed out that this would be problematic as the observer friend would need to stay peeled to the window all day long so we need a way which is set-and-forget. Here is what I proposed.

Light 1Light 2Meaning

As you can see from the above table, it’s possible for the undercover spy to tell the partner if there are 0, 1, 2 or 3 bad guys in the house. Consequently, if they wanted to communicate a bigger number, they could use more lights. For instance, with 4 lights they could communicate up to 15.

Demo device

I then showed them the little Arduino based contraption I designed for them to give them a practical demo. This device has 4 LEDs and based on the combination it shows the number on the screen.

I was pretty stoked when the kids were able to decode the numbers so easily with more lights. As some of you would already know, this “secret language” is called binary numbers. Binary numbers are at the core of computing so I will continue building on this idea in the future.

Instagram project

Last week, I asked the kids to think about a situation where someone gives them $30 million to build a copy of Instagram. They had difficulty thinking about this initially but they figured out that the first step is to understand fully what they need to build. I gave them a bit of time to talk about this together, where they started moving in the right direction Thinking about hiring tech people, designers, going to people who have done similar projects, even talking to Instagram folks for help.


As the next step, I asked them to think about their favourite/most used tech company, find out more about them, their backstory and what it takes to keep that company going.

What if we used 100% of our brain?

Amir picked this fantastic video for the week. It sparked some interesting conversations about intelligence, the limitations of the mind, the limitations of the body etc. The myth that we all just use 10% of our brain and if we could use all of it, it would change everything was busted too. As some of you will know, it’s the central plot of the movie/tv-show Limitless.

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