2017 Congressional App Challenge

This year marks the fourth annual Congressional App Challenge for the 5th Congressional District. The Congressional App Challenge is a competition aimed at encouraging U.S. high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The Challenge is intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Congressman Thompson knows how crucial these skills are and wants to encourage students to engage in these fields. By encouraging and recognizing our nation’s young programming talent, he hopes to shine a light on the growing importance of these skills.

Please note that this competition is open to all students, regardless of coding experience. We strongly encourage students of all skill levels to participate, to learn how to create their own apps.

The Congressional App Challenge, supported by the Internet Education Foundation, is new open for registration and submissions.

Judging Criteria

Quality of the Idea

How creative is the app? How original is it? Does the app address a problem? If so, how creative is the solution?

Implementation of the Idea

Did the student consider the user experience? Did the student give thought to the app design?

Demonstrated Excellence of Coding and Programming Skills

Did the student display understanding of the tools they were using? Did the student demonstrate they had learned about how to code?

How to Enter

Summary of How to Enter:

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Register on Challenge.gov
  3. CREATE YOUR APP!
  4. Review the submission checklist, and then submit your app and a demonstration video explaining what it does
  5. Fill out the exit questionnaire

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Age:  There is no age minimum, but students are not allowed to participate after they’ve graduated from high school.
  • Location:  Look up the 9-digit zip code for your home and school by entering the addresses, here, and then save this number. You’ll need it later.
  • Teams:  Students are allowed to participate as individuals, or as teams of up to four. If you are participating as part of team, at least two of your teammates must be eligible to participate in the district in which you wish to compete.
  • Old Projects:  If you created an app for a separate project or program, you are welcome to submit that app, as long as it was created within the last calendar year, and fulfills the rest of the requirements.

Step 2: Register

Register on the Congressional App Challenge Website here. Within 3 business days of registering, you will receive an email from studentsupport@congressionalappchallenge.us with your/your team’s Submission ID Number, which you will need to submit your app. The number will look something like this: AB123-01.

The registration process should take about 10 minutes, depending on whether you’re participating as an individual or as a team. To register, you’ll need:

  • Your home’s 9-digit zip code,
  • Your school’s 9-digit zip code,
  • The name of your Member of Congress, your state, and the district number (Mike Thompson, CA-05), and
  • Teams will need this information for each teammate.

Step 3: CREATE!

Once you’re all signed up, you can move ahead with creating your app! You can create any type of app you like, on any platform you like. In the past, students have submitted mobile apps web apps, study tools, games, journal apps, and more. To get you started, here are some resources you can check out.

You must also create a 1-3 minute Demonstration Video, which you can post on vimeo, youtube, or another video-hosting site (make sure the video is set to public viewing). Your video should:

  • Explain the purpose of your app.
  • Explain who your intended audience is.
  • Mention what tools and languages you used to create your app.
  • Show how your app would be used.

Please note that your entry is likely to be judged in its entirety based on this video. It is important to demonstrate the scope and quality of your application in this video. The video should be no more than three minutes in length.

Lastly, you will also need to answer the following questions before you submit your app:

  1. Short Description: What is your app trying to accomplish and why? (350 characters max.)
  2. What’s a difficulty you faced in programming your app and how did you overcome it? (1500 characters max.)
  3. What improvements would make if you were going to create a version 2.0 of your app?  (750 characters max.)

Step 4: Submit Your App and Demonstration Video

Before you submit your app, you should do a final review of the Submission Checklist. This is just to ensure that you’re all ready to go.

Once you’ve reviewed the checklist, you’ll be ready to submit all your work here.  You’ll need your Submission ID Number, the name of your Member of Congress, the link to your video, and your answers to the questions.

Teams: You only need to submit your app ONCE, using your team Submission ID Number.

Step 5: Fill out the Exit Questionnaire

After you submit your work, you will be given a link to the Exit Questionnaire on the same page. We will collect your contact information and survey answers separately, so your responses will be completely anonymous, but you must complete the Questionnaire.

Teams: ALL Members of your team must complete the Exit Questionnaire individually. Teammates can use the same link, but must complete the form individually.