Want to get kids interested in science? There’s an app contest for that.

Every year, members of Congress encourage students in their districts to come up with the next killer app. Last year, three youngsters from the Third District — Maha, Madeeha and Mia Syed — won the Minnesota regional competition when they figured out how to help hungry social media users sift through restaurant menu options and information without ever leaving Facebook.

The 2017 Congressional App Challenge kicked off last week and several Minnesota congressional offices are enthusiastically on board.

“I look forward to seeing the brilliant products that Minnesota’s students come up with,” U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer said. “Our nation is currently facing a major skills gap crisis, and the technology sector has been hit hard, making this challenge even more important.”

The app challenge was launched in 2013 as a way to coax more students into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. In 2016, more than 2,150 students from 120 districts dreamed up 650 original apps during the regional competitions.

Congress members sit in judgment on an endless series of contests: art, essays, even the occasional hot dish cook-off.

Winners from each district have their tech on display in the Capitol and on the House.gov website for a year, as well as getting a share of $50,000 in credits from Amazon Web Services.

For more information, visit congressionalappchallenge.us or contact the offices of U.S. Reps. Emmer, Jason Lewis or Erik Paulsen.