IONIA – Caleb Sibley has spent most of the fall coding his own app that allows users to test their math skills.
Sibley’s efforts have earned him some national recognition.
Sibley, a student at Ionia High School, won the Congressional App Challenge for Michigan’s Third Congressional District, represented by Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids). Sibley is the first IHS student to receive this honor.
IHS students Kenneth Felice, Landon Duell and Emilio Flores placed second in the competition.
After submitting his project titled “Math Mage Mayhem” by the November 1 deadline, Sibley was notified on December 1 that he had won the Congressional App Challenge for Michigan’s Third Congressional District.
“I was surprised,” Sibley said. ” I did not expect that. I was very happy and excited.
Each year, US officials challenge students in their “districts to create and submit their own original apps for a chance to win the Congressional App Challenge,” according to the competition’s website. Each winning application may be on display at the United States Capitol for one year.
Sibley, 17, participated in the IHS STEAM Pathway program through high school. He was the only freshman in the robotics course, then took up digital and design and technology in his second year. Sibley did not take a STEAM course last year, but is now in her synthesis course in her final year.
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Danna Fuller, Sibley’s Synthesis Instructor, approached him with the idea of participating in the Congressional App Challenge.
“I was interested in the idea and thought it was really cool,” Sibley said. “I went ahead and started brainstorming ideas and decided to participate.”
Sibley decided to create a main character-based math game that uses four spells to defeat four targets in a back-and-forth battle. Each of the four spells involves a different mathematical subject that must be resolved quickly and correctly for the spell to be effective.
“Math Mage Mayhem,” available online through Scratch, encourages players to use different spells to improve their math skills and defeat targets, Sibley said.
“I’ve always been a fan of games,” Sibley said. “As I was trying to think of what I could design, I was thinking of game ideas that might be useful.”
Sibley would spend about an hour a day in class working on the game, and later working on it at home while double-enrolling at Montcalm Community College. Sibley said he was ill for half of the time he worked on the game.
“Some days I felt like I had to get started because some parts were tedious to do … It was hard to work some days, but other days it came naturally and I m ‘got into it and got really excited with the coding parts, “he said.” The problem-solving aspect can be a lot of fun sometimes. ”
Sibley said he is awaiting a certificate and a potential trip to Washington, DC After graduating from high school, he hopes to attend Lawrence Tech University or Ferris State University to study software design.