2021 Congressional App Challenge

Every year, students of the Northern Mariana Islands are invited to showcase their talents by designing and programming an app for the annual Congressional App Challenge.

Inspired by the Congressional Art Competition, the App Challenge aims to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) education by recognizing young programming talent across the nation.  Short for "application," an "app" is software that can be run on a variety of tools and devices, including the web browsers, computers, smart phones, tablets, and many more.  Apps are created for many purposes, including entertainment, health monitoring, and enhancing work performance.

For this challenge, students can create any type of app they like, covering any topic, as long as it is original, appropriate, and meets certain functional requirements.

2020 Winners:

1st Place: SRC (Link) by Carson Lin, James Lin, Jun Du, and Jie Du of Marianas High School

2nd Place: Kallo (Link) by Jaehoon Son and Dip Roy of Marianas High School

3rd Place: EcoFriend (Link) by Mikee Mame Mendoza and Maria Ayuyu of Mount Carmel School 

Past Winners:

2017: The Student Companion by Chenoa Bunts-Anderson and Daniel Villarmero of Marianas High School (Link)

2018: The Health Buddy: Diabetes by Ian Rei Cataluna, Mimi Sakano, Gauen Yang, and Celina Wu of Marianas High School (Link)

2019: SPA (Summer Program Application) by Julia Malate, Grace Zhang, and Nan Xie of Marianas High School (Link)

2020: SRC by Carson Lin, James Lin, Jun Du, and Jie Du of Marianas High School (Link)

How to Participate:

1. Register.  Starting June 1, 2021, students can register online, participating individually OR in teams of up to four.  If competing as a team, all students of the team must submit their information on the registration form.

REGISTER HERE: https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/students/student-registration/

2. Design.  Think of the type of app you would like to create.  Do you want to create an app that is a game or one that solves a problem?  What will it look like?  What does it need to do?

3. Submit.  Complete all the submission requirements.

Submission requirements:

A complete submission will include the following components:

1. Registration Form

2. App Information

  • Title of Your App
  • The coding language you used
  • Purpose of your app; explained in ONE sentence
  • Short Description.  What is your app trying to accomplish and why?
  • A technical/coding difficulty you faced.  Tell us what you faced and explain your coding solution.
  • Improvements you would make to a 2.0 version of your app, based on what you've learned so far.

3. Demonstration Video.  Create a 1-3 minute long video showcasing what your app does and how it works.  Videos must be uploaded to a public site like YouTube or Vimeo so that judges can watch them.

A good video will include the following:

  • Introduction of the student/team and the name of your app
  • A clear explanation of the app's purpose (should be done in one clear sentence)
  • An explanation of who the app is intended for
  • An explanation of tools and coding languages used to create the app
  • Demonstration of how the app is used

4. Exit Questionnaire.  This will be e-mailed to all students after the submission period closes.  All students must complete the exit questionnaire.

Resources

The following are resources that can help students begin learning how to code and design their submissions.

2021 App Challenge Electronic Resource Packet. Students’ and educators’ guide to the 2021 Northern Marianas Congressional App Challenge.

Upbrainery. Want to sharpen your coding skills before you begin making your app? The 2021 Congressional App Challenge has partnered with UpBrainery to help you successfully build your own web or mobile apps. This program is free of charge and provides access to step by step resources, mentors and coaches.

Code.org is a great resource for beginning to learn how to design and code.  The website includes tutorials and activities such as Hour of Code that are designed to teach people of all ages the basics of coding and scripting.

Apple Resources. Apple provides accessible resources for students to learn how to code using Swift.

Apple Developer Program.  Students interested in creating apps for iOS platforms can refer to the website for the Apple Developer Program, which provides software and tools to create apps for the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.  Part of this program is Xcode, an editor that allows easy creation and editing of apps while also searching for mistakes in the code and offering possible solutions.

Android Studio.  The official IDE for Android devices, Android Studio offers a similar to Xcode for those who wish to develop apps for Android-based devices instead.  This software also analyzes your code for mistakes and offers possible solutions to fix your code.  The studio also includes a drag and drop editor for easy layout and UI designs.

Visual Studio.  Microsoft's official IDE for creating Windows Apps, hybrid mobile apps for Android and iOS, web apps, and even games.  Provides support such as live assistance for multiple coding languages such as C#, Visual Basic, C++, JavaScript, and Python.

ThunkableX. An easy to use, block coding app development environment that is compatible with both Android and iOS device platforms.  Lots of features, functionality and access to the device, allowing for the development of creative apps with only a very basic coding knowledge.

Flutter/Dart.  A device cross platform (e.g. Android and iOS) development environment that utilizes Google’s material design.  While more difficult than block coding development platform alternatives such as MIT App Inventor or ThunkableX, teams with some text language coding experience should consider using this app development environment or alternatively the iOS specific Swift app development environment.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please e-mail your congressional office at Kilili@mail.house.gov