MIDDLETON, Idaho -- Students at Middleton Middle School hope to continue a winning tradition in a nationwide contest.
They’re learning teamwork and technological skills by building apps for Android phones.
Last year, a group of Middleton students won “best in state” for their app based on the periodic table.
That success inspired even more students to take part in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge this time around.
"It's amazing what students this age can come up with," said computer applications teacher Bob Santi. "It's just kind of grown like wildfire."
Dozens of Middleton Middle School students signed on to design a smart phone app this year.
Three groups submitted their ideas to the Verizon Innovative App Challenge this week.
"You go through and you have a certain amount of turtles you have to smash," said 8th grader Breanna Lyle of her group's entry.
From "Turtle Smash" to "Penguin Portals," each app has an educational angle.
"Kind of studying, but with a fun twist," said 8th grader Abbey Teeter.
The contest requires students to incorporate STEM: science, technology engineering and math, into their idea.
The "Penguin Portals" Android app works like a study guide.
Kids can input questions for an upcoming test and the more they can answer, the more levels they can complete.
"You would enter in your study questions to do with math, reading, any of those," added Teeter.
Middleton student Luke Watts has already found success in this field.
His group’s design was named "best in state" by Verizon judges last year.
"It's both fun and educational," said Watts about designing an app.
The process isn’t just about learning programming, but teamwork.
"As days turned into weeks we kind of got along with each other better and we came up with this idea," added Watts.
This time around, Watts and his classmates hope one of Middleton’s three app entries can win the school a national prize.
"That would be awesome if someone at Middleton won," said Watts.
Students at Middleton submitted their PowerPoint proposals to Verizon, Tuesday. Winners will be announced in the coming weeks. There are prizes for best in state, best in region and best in the nation.
National winners receive will receive $15,000 to make their app a reality with the help of Verizon Foundation partners.
That means the winning apps will be available for Android users around the world to download.