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Idaho State University

The Challenge



Teams are challenged to incorporate knowledge of team building, space exploration, and the engineering design process to build a Mars Rover using LEGO® parts AND present the Rover in eight different areas at an Engineering Design Competition (EDC). If your team does not have full intentions of attending a competition, you should NOT be participating in the Idaho TECH program. 

Teams will:

  • Learn about team building skills, space exploration, and the engineering design process using the Idaho TECH Activities and other instruction from teachers, parents, and/or mentors.
  • Apply knowledge and skills learned from LEGO® building cards and follow Rules & Regulations to create a Rover that meets specific engineering design guidelines, including a rock collection device and rock storage area.
  • Track the engineering design process with a Lab Notebook that is kept during the entire program and includes a timeline, three itemized budgets, day-to-day notes, and individual pie charts.
  • Demonstrate what was learned through verbal and poster presentations at the Engineering Design Competition.


Each team MUST have a teacher sponsor who will be fully responsible for the team, will be provided LEGO® kits, and will be the main point of contact for the team. The teacher sponsor can use parent, community, and mentor support to guide the teams through the process during school or through an after-school program.

  • Each team MUST have between 4 and 6 students from 4th, 5th, and/or 6th grade that attend school in the same school district.
  • Each team may have up to TWO mentors (7th-12th graders) to assist the team.
  • Each team may have an unlimited amount of parental and community support.


Although the Idaho TECH Mars Rover Challenge is sponsored by NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, the school is responsible for additional expenses. Please refer to the Cost & Registration page for details. Many schools rely on community fundraising or company sponsorship to assist with expenses.

  • Registration Fee: $15 for the first team and $5 for each additional team
  • Poster Budget: no more than $30
  • Mars Rover Budget: no more than $50
  • Travel: varies; consider busing fee, hotels, meals, etc.
  • Return Lego Kits: cost to return LEGO® Kits to Idaho State University
  • Optional: materials for activities, team t-shirts, etc.


The NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium provides the following supplies for use during the program. Kits must be returned at the end of the program in the same condition as they were when received.

  • Kit “R” – LEGO® Manufacturing Systems Kit (red container) with buildings cards
  • Kit “Y” – LEGO® Pneumatics Kit (yellow container) with building cards

Additional supplies for the Mars Rover design must be purchased by the school, and are restricted by the following limitations:

  • In addition to the two provided LEGO® kits, teams are allowed up to $50 in additional LEGO® parts and/or items on the “Non-LEGO® Allowable Elements” found in the Idaho TECH Manual (see link below).
  • For the Kits RO & YO used in the Twin Falls EDC: Teams may have up to three battery boxes-OR-two motors as part of the Rover design. Teams may NOT use geared-down motors, or any other power source other than the 9-volt simple motors and pneumatics provided to operate the Rover.
  • For the Kits RN & YN used in the Pocatello and Moscow EDCs: Teams must use the LEGO® motors provided. No others will be permissible.


We strongly recommend that teachers and parents read the entire manual and reach out to with questions and clarifications.

View the entire Idaho TECH Manual.