The JFK Challenge

A fun iPad app that uses games and missions to educate kids about JFK’s life and legacy Visit Site


Mobile & Native Applications, Game Development, Interactive, Strategy, Development, Applications, Design, Animation / Illustration, Motion graphics

Through a series of fun, enriching games geared to ages 8-12, The JFK Challenge app turns players into NASA and Peace Corps trainees ready to accept President Kennedy’s charge to accomplish great things and make a difference in the world. Bluecadet was thrilled to work with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on their first app, made possible by a grant from Disney.

The JFK Challenge takes advantage of the full suite of the iPad’s capabilities, incorporating touch, drag, swipe, the camera, and the accelerometer. Apple expressed early interest in the app, and we worked with Apple to ready The JFK Challenge for promotion in the App Store leading up to its release. Bluecadet also collaborated with The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in support of a comprehensive marketing campaign.

Games Incentivize Learning

The JFK Challenge is an innovative way to introduce President John F. Kennedy’s life and legacy to a generation born many years after his presidency. Bluecadet spearheaded the conceptualization, design, and development of the app from start to finish, including thorough research and testing with kids to ensure the most engaging experience.

The app features two missions, based on two of JFK’s most important presidential initiatives: Space Race and Peace Corps. Bluecadet developed a sequential game format, with timed activities and points to motivate users to continue through the levels—learning more as they play. To emphasize the hard work and training that was involved in becoming an astronaut or Peace Corps member, and to teach users the gameplay techniques, each mission starts with a series of training games. Players progress through Space Race and Peace Corps challenges using skills they learned during training.

Choose Your Mission and Personalize Your Experience

Are you ready to rise to The JFK Challenge? Each player starts by adding his or her own name and snapping a “selfie” through the built-in camera for a personalized game experience.

The Peace Corps

The Peace Corps mission takes young volunteers on a trip to Colombia, one of the first countries where the Peace Corps traveled in the 1960s. Peace Corps volunteers go through serious training before departing for service; in The JFK Challenge, kids must pass a playful Spanish language quiz game—learning words needed to successfully complete their mission once they are in Colombia. Their training continues with games that teach how to dig, build, and locate other countries around the globe where Peace Corps volunteers traveled.

Players use their new skills as they help dig canals for clean drinking water and construct a school and clinic—activities based on first-hand accounts from Peace Corps volunteers. We used custom algorithms to randomize the challenges each time, encouraging repeat play. The mission concludes with a free play opportunity to explore the village, where kids unlock historical photos of local residents, wildlife, culture, and connections to JFK.

The Space Race

As virtual astronauts in the Space Race mission, kids travel back in time to journey to the moon with the Apollo 11 team. Inspired by the astronauts’ actual training, the games convey how much preparation went into the first moon landing, and what a challenging feat it was.

After assembling the spacesuit correctly, kids see their own photograph beneath the helmet’s visor. Then, players must launch the rocket, steer the spacecraft to the moon, land the Lunar Module, and explore the moon while finding hidden objects. The iPad becomes a rocket’s steering mechanism as players tilt the device to avoid space debris and use quick thumb-strokes to make a smooth lunar landing.

Drawing from the wealth of media provided by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Bluecadet scripted and produced the app’s introductory video that gives kids an overview of JFK and his legacy, as well as videos that launch both the Peace Corps and Space Race missions. These videos provide context and bring American history to life through archival filmed footage, photos, and audio clips.

Combining custom games and animations with primary sources, The JFK Challenge fosters interest in the sciences, exploration, volunteerism, and cultural exchange—inspiring kids to make an impact on Earth or in space.


W3 Awards – Silver

Communication Arts – Exhibit Feature

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