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Mars Rover STEM Engineering Design Challenge (Distance Learning & Robotics)

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
5th - 9th
Formats Included
  • PDF
40 pages
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Vivify STEM

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Mars Rover STEM Activity: Engineering Design Challenge with Math Extension

Includes an editable digital STEM journal and instructional video for distance learning.

NASA needs your help! Your mission is to use the engineering design process to design and build a rover to transport rock samples on the Moon or Mars (both versions included).

This hands-on activity is an engaging design challenge that allows students to work in teams (or individually), apply the engineering design process, and connect math topics to real-world applications.

Engineering Challenge: Students will use a vibrating motor and coin cell battery to power a mini rover. The students will need to design and build a rover to transport a ping pong ball using materials such as paper cups, construction paper, tape, and index cards.

Real-world STEM Connection: The product includes an instructional video that guides students through the design challenge. The video includes an interview with a robotics engineer and discusses current NASA rovers.

As with many STEM activities, this challenge can be tailored to students of various skill levels and abilities.

Included in this product:

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • Photos of student examples
  • Student handouts to guide them through the design process
  • Instructional video led by an engineer with an interview of a robotics engineer
  • Editable Google Slides STEM journal for distance learning
  • STEM Career Connection on Robotics Engineer & Electrical Engineer
  • STEM Real-World Connection on NASA VIPER rover
  • Student recording sheet for each step of the process
  • Math connection problems including rates and speed

Recommended Materials:

Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here: bit.ly/VivifyResourceGuide

About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or afterschool program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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Total Pages
40 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
3 hours
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


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