Hacking into young minds: Hackathon ideas for teachers


Despite their misleading name, hackathons bring groups of innovators together to “hack” or develop an idea and then materialize that idea using technology.  

Hackathons are popular among developers, but they are now being adopted in schools as a project for STEM students.  Hackathons are a great way to spark creativity and get students involved with problem solving and critical thinking in the classroom.

Holding a hackathon in the classroom can seem like a daunting task for teachers who have never done one before.  According to Matthew Lynch at The Edvocate, in order to begin a hackathon, students first have to identify a problem.  Then they have to figure out different ways they can use technology to solve that problem. To get your students started, here are 8 different ideas for student hackathons.

1.  Learning

Have your students figure out different ways they can use technology in the classroom.  Students can conduct research to see how technology is currently being used in schools, and figure out how they can fill a hole in the market.

2.  Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a major issues in schools, and has quite possibly affected the lives of many of your students.  Being close to this problem may help inspire students to find a digital solution.

3.  Maps and Travel

Almost everyone in today’s society has at least one map or navigation app of their smartphone.  Have your students figure out how to make a local navigation app that might be helpful to the residents of their town.

4.  Saving the Environment

Students learn about climate change and other environmental issues in their science classes, so why not have them apply that knowledge for hackathon?  Students can brainstorm how they can use technology help save the earth, even if it’s something small like an app that tells people how and what they can recycle.

5.  Societal Issues

Most students are aware of the major issues and debates going on in society both nationally and locally.  Have them brainstorm ways to help improve the world around them.

6.  Fitness

Health and fitness apps are all the rage.  Students can think of ways to help people stay in shape either with new technologies, or with the devices they already use every day.

7.  Health & Safety

Eating healthy and making safe choices is impressed upon students by both parents and teachers.  Have them come up with an app that will encourage children to make good choices.

8.  Art & Entertainment

Art and music is a great way for students to express themselves.  Have them brainstorm how to get people more involved in the arts using technology.

Story via Edvocate

Ingrid Schmidt