2020 Congressional App Challenge

Thank you for your interest in the Northern Marianas Islands Congressional App Challenge! The 2020 Congressional App Challenge has concluded, and registration for the 2021 App Challenge begins in July 2021. However, you can start coding your new apps for the 2021 Challenge as early as today. Scroll down for resources on how to get started. 

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)

2nd Place: Kallo (Link)

3rd Place: EcoFriend (Link)

Past Winners:

The Student Companion, 2017 Winning App (Link)

The Health Buddy: Diabetes, 2018 Winning App (Link)

SPA (Summer Program Application), 2019 Winning App (Link)

SRC, 2020 Winning App (Link)

How to Participate:

1. Register.  Starting June 1, 2020, 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.


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

2020 App Challenge Electronic Resource Packet. Students’ and educators’ guide to the 2020 Northern Marianas Congressional App Challenge.

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 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.


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