Congressional App Challenge

2019 Congressional App Challenge for TX-26

The Congressional App Challenge was designed to encourage student participation in STEM, especially in computer science and coding. This nationwide effort allows students to compete alongside their peers by creating an app for desktop/PC, web, tablet, mobile, raspberry Pi, or other devices. The Challenge is specifically designed to promote innovation and engagement in computer science, and is open to all middle and high school students residing or attending school in the 26th Congressional District of Texas.

Participating students are tasked with creating an app that will impress our panel of expert judges, who may choose a middle school, high school, and grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will be publicly announced by Congressman Burgess and have the opportunity to display their app in the U.S. Capitol.

Students entering the competition must submit their app to the Congressional App Challenge website during the competition submission period between 12:00pm on July 15, 2019, and 12:00pm CT on November 1, 2019. 

Submission Rules and Requirements:

1. To be eligible, students must:

  • Be currently enrolled in middle or high school (6th – 12th grade)
  • Reside or attend school in the 26th Congressional District of Texas (open to private, public, and home-schooled students.)
  • Limit your group to 4 members (at least 2 members per group must live or attend school in Texas’ 26th Congressional District.)
  • Submit your app by the November 1st deadline to and follow other requirements stated.

2. Your app may cover any topic of your choice, but must be appropriate, original, and created within the calendar year prior to this Challenge’s closing date (November 1, 2019). 

3. Your app may be written in any programming language (C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, or "block code"), for any platform (desktop/PC, web, mobile, raspberry Pi, etc.).

4. You and/or your group may only submit one app.

5. Please visit this link regarding any questions on eligibility and submission requirements and view the complete Congressional App Challenge Student Handbook here.

How to Enter

1. Please check your eligibility (see above or visit this link to do so).

2. Register to participate between July 15th and November 1st,  2019 on the Congressional App Challenge website. Please note that the deadline to register AND to submit an entry is November 1, 2019. To register as a team: Each member must include pertinent information separately on the registration form above.

3. Begin creating your app.

4. Once complete, create a demonstration video. Your video should be 1-3 minutes long and answer all Congressional App Challenge required questions. You may find this information here.

5. Submit your demonstration video and app to the Congressional App Challenge website.

6. Complete the Exit Questionnaire.
** Please note that the completion of the Exit Questionnaire is mandatory.


The Grand Prize Winner:

1. Will have his/her app displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building and will also be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives Website.

2. Will be invited to attend the #HouseofCode Capitol Hill Reception in Washington, DC. in Spring 2020.

3. Will receive $250 in Amazon Services credits.

Judging Criteria:

The students will be evaluated using three criteria: concept, design, and skill. The judge will score each student on a scale from 1 to 5 – 1 being poor, 3 being average, 5 being superior.


·         How creative is the idea?

·         Does the app address a specific problem? If so, how creative is the solution?

1 – The purpose of the app is unclear.

2 - The app’s purpose is somewhat clear, but the idea is not original or unique.

3 - The app’s purpose is creative/unique, but it is somewhat unclear.

4 – The app’s purpose is clear, but the idea is not original or unique.

5 – The app’s purpose is clear and the idea is original.


·         Did the student consider the user experience and interface?

·         How intuitive is the U.I?

·         How cohesive are the app’s features (ex: consistent color scheme)?


1-      The design was basic and the app’s user could not navigate the app.

2-      The design of the app is appropriate; however, the user struggled to navigate the app.

3-      The design of the app is basic; however, the user could easily navigate the app. 

4-      The design of the app is appropriate and the app’s user was able to navigate the app easily.

5-      The design of the app is creative and aesthetically pleasing and the app’s user can easily navigate the app.


·         Did the students use “block code” to create the app or did the student use text-based computer programing? “Block code” includes Scratch, MIT App Inventor, and Blocky.

1-  The student only used block code.

2- The student integrated some text-based code into his “block code” app.

3- The student integrated an equal amount of text-based code into his “block code” app.

4- The student used a text-based programming language.

5- The student used multiple text-based programming languages.


Coding Resources:

Congressman Burgess encourages all interested students in the 26th District to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, regardless of previous experience. In fact, last year, 44% of participants described themselves as beginners before entering the competition. The Congressional App Challenge website includes suggested education resources.