In feature photo above, left to right, Cadet Brayden Edwards, Instructor Keith Morgan, and Cadet Hayden James.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) has announced the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District — and two Missouri Military Academy (MMA) have ranked on top.
Brayden Edwards, a seventh-grade cadet at MMA, was awarded first place for his “Avoid the Crystals!” app. Edwards created an original game through his app where players guide a spaceship around the screen trying to avoid crystals. Brayden is the son of Joseph and Sherry Edwards of Dorsey, Illinois. Scroll down to learn more about his app.
The second-place winner from Missouri’s Fourth District was the “Shortcuts” app created by Hayden James, a seventh-grade cadet at MMA. The application allows users to create links to their most used or favorite websites for easy access. Hayden is the son of Jennifer James of Kansas City, Missouri. Scroll down to learn more about his app.
Over 300 members of the U.S. House of Representatives hosted Congressional App Challenge events in their districts, which aims to engage students in computer science. During the last four months, thousands of students coded original apps nationwide as part of the contest.
According to MMA Business Department Chair and Instructor Keith Morgan, MMA’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum and App Creators coursework dovetailed perfectly with the Congressional App Challenge timeline to prepare cadets for the competition. The cadets brainstormed ideas before working to complete their apps and worked to ensure they followed the Congressional App Challenge rules.
“I was excited to see the focus and initiative each cadet demonstrated,” Morgan said. “Brayden and Hayden both read the competition rules to be certain their work was what the CAC judges were asking for. They persisted and adhered to the challenging technical guidance for their submissions.”
First place finishers from each congressional district are invited to showcase their apps to the Members of Congress and members of the tech community at the Congressional App Challenge #HouseOfCode reception in the spring.
“It is satisfying to see these cadets do so well in this competition. This achievement will motivate them on to even deeper learning and personal growth,” Morgan added.
Below, Cadet Edwards explains his first-place entry in the 2021 Congressional App Challenge. Following the guidelines of the Congressional competition, he developed and completed his space shooter game, inspired by the arcade game PacMan. The game's goal is to pilot your craft successfully through space while not being destroyed by killer crystals attacking you. The game tracks points earned and lives lost among other things. Cadet Edwards used the Scratch block code development software to build his outstanding game.
Below, Cadet Hayden James explains his second-place entry in the 2021 Congressional App Challenge. Following the guidelines of the Congressional competition, he created an Android app that saves the user time by allowing the user to press preset buttons rather than type in the text to go to frequently visited websites or applications. After seeing his teacher use a similar app, he wanted to make his own and used the MIT App Inventor block code development software to build his award-winning application.
Learn more about science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education at MMA. MMA's strategic plan includes a specific focus on STEAM education to prepare our cadets for success in their post-high school education and future careers.