Marble Run wins Rep. Don Young’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Alaska’s At-Large District

Rep. Don Young has named Toya Takahashi from West Anchorage High School as the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Alaska’s At-Large District. 

When asked what inspired the creation of Marble Run, the student said, “Last year, I took the challenging college-level course called IB HL Physics I. While physics was certainly my favorite subject that year, I realized that both my friends and I had a difficult time visualizing and understanding certain concepts in the class because all classes were online. This meant that we did not have in-person experiments which is often a critical aspect in gaining in-depth knowledge of certain topics, especially in a science class. This inspired me to create an online equivalent of an in-person physics experiment that would help future students who are interested in learning physics to solidify their understanding of the subject. However, I also understood that creating a simulation is not enough, as it lacks the motivation to keep students practicing their skills. This is why I chose to create the simulation in the form of a video game; to keep people engaged while increasing their skill levels. I hope that this application will help motivate future students to continue pursuing physics and allow them to apply the knowledge they learned through a virtual simulation.”

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge yielded 2,101 fully functioning apps. After eighteen months of disruptions to educational cadences for students everywhere, the Congressional App Challenge came roaring back with 7,174 students registering for this year’s competition. All told, 340 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, theCoderSchool, Facebook, Replit, Accenture, and others.

The 2022 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2022, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.