Design Competition

For Educators

Your Role during the design competition is to:

Recruit students and organize a team, or multiple teams.

Register your school or educational organization.

The first 30 organizations can enter for FREE!

Then, you will lead your students through a project-based space exploration learning experience.

Over the course of the spring semester, you will support your students as they brainstorm, problem-solve, research, and implement the engineering design process. NWAY will work with you to connect your students with STEM mentors who will provide students with feedback on their projects. Together, this STEM-ecosystem helps students build 21st-century skills including creativity, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and much, much more!

Learn more by downloading these important documents

Make sure to check out the FAQs below. You can also access this Contact Form and an NWAY team member will answer all your questions.

Overview Flyer

Download the PDF

Competition Handbook

Download the PDF

Ready to register a team?

Contact us to Register!

The first 30 organizations can enter for free!
How Can I lead my team to success?

Successful teams will implement the Engineering Design Process and Project Management cycle. These two processes work very well together and are perfect tools for this Design Competition. To help you lead your team to success, NWAY’s project partner, Future City, has created these short videos.


What will my students do?

The NWAY Design Competition is a flexible, project based learning experience that can be adapted for any learning environment. Whether it be a classroom, after-school club, homeschool group, or informal learning organizations (museums, science centers, libraries, etc.).

Students will apply their science, engineering, mathematics and technology knowledge and skills as well as learn more about the Moon and space exploration.

They will create a physical 3D model of their habitat from simple materials (recyclables).

Students will interact with STEM mentors, learn to receive feedback and incorporate mentors’ feedback into their design.

A variety of skill sets and interests are addressed like creativity, problem solving, building scale models, researching, writing, technology applications and presenting.

Is there a set curriculum to follow?

NWAY provides an optional curriculum – you can choose to use all, part, or none of it. Curriculum guide coming soon!

Is the NWAY Design Competition aligned with educational standards?
Yes! The program meets national standards for math, science, and technology education as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, National Science Education Standards, the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, the National Educational Technology Standards, and the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.
Does the NWAY Design Competition accommodate gifted and/or exceptional children?
Yes, it is an open-ended challenge where educators can easily adapt to students’ abilities. NWAY aims for exceptional growth and learning for all students.
Who can participate?
The NWAY Design Competition is open to teams of students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade.
How many students are on a team?
Each team can have 4-6 students. Each organization can have as many teams as they wish!
Do I have to register?

Yes. Every organization needs to register. An organization can have multiple teams in the design competition. By registering, you will have access to STEM mentors, virtual guest speakers, and support by the NWAY team.

To get started with registration, complete this contact form. The first 30 organizations can register for free!

How much does it cost?

The first 30 organizations can enter for free!

$25.00 registration fee per organization. Each organization can register up to 20 teams for the $25 fee. If you have more than 20 teams another $25 fee will apply. The fees collected will offset the cost of the virtual platform that will be used for the competition.

Additional costs at your organization’s expense include supplies for the model and presentation. This cost is limited to a $100 budget and most teams offset it by using recycled materials for the habitat model construction.

What is the competition timeline?

For the specific timeline refer to the Competition-Handbook. A general timeline is provided below:

Teams must be registered by mid-February. Teams work on the project throughout the spring semester (Feb. – May).

In mid-March, teams submit a video presentation introducing their team and outlining their design and approach. STEM mentors will provide feedback to each team.

A preliminary competition will be conducted at the end of April. Students will prepare and submit a video showcasing their model (see the competition handbook for details). The top 10% of teams will be invited to compete in the Final Round which will be held in early May.

What is the time commitment?

The program runs from February to May. You choose how often your students will meet and work on the project.

Educators may spend approximately 30 hours while students may spend 40 to 60 hours on the project. Educators can partner with colleagues to help lead the team – the technology teacher to oversee the production of the video presentations, and the art and/or math teacher to lead the 3D Model building, etc.

What resources are available?

TheCompetition-Handbook details everything about the competition including the scoring rubrics.

The NWAY curriculum guide (coming soon) contains classroom activities aligned to the engineering design process. This curriculum guide is optional. You can use all, part, or none of it as you see fit!

Additional online and print resources related to the current year’s theme can be found in the NWAY curriculum guide. Photos and videos of previous years’ projects and presentations are posted here and can serve as examples.

What support will I have?
After you register, you will be contacted by an NWAY team member who can answer any questions you may have along the way.

You will be assigned a STEM mentor who can provide feedback on your students’ design prior to building the 3D model.

Can parents and the community participate?
When supporting students, it is important to involve the entire STEM ecosystem: school, parents/families, and community. “It takes a village to raise a child!”

Students will do the brainstorming, researching, and building. Use the rest of the ecosystem to provide feedback, encouragement, building materials (recyclables). You can also ask STEM businesses in your community to provide mentorship to the students.

How do I help my students with...?
To be prepared, review all the materials and guides (curriculum, checklist, competition details and rubrics) in order to determine how you will guide your team. Perhaps you will use all, none, or only a few, activities from the curriculum guide.

Remember, you don’t always need to have the answers! Set a good example by doing the research along with your students.

Keep Up With NWAY

Follow us on social media for cool Space STEM videos, links, and other resources and check out recent NWAY news below.

2024 NASA TEAM II Award for New Worlds Await You – Next Generation Promotes STEM in San Antonio

NASA’s vision for TEAM II is to enhance the capability of informal education institutions to host NASA-based learning activities while increasing the institutions’ capacity to bring NASA resources to students. The agency has selected four institutions to receive...

2022 Lunar Habitat Design Competition Award Ceremony

On May 14th, 2022, the 8 finalists of the New Worlds Await You Lunar Lava Tube Habitat Design Competition presented their final products to their judges, watched insightful videos from exhibitors, heard from guest speaker Ginger Barnes, and won placement awards! We...

New Worlds Await You – 8 Teams Advancing to Finals !

New Worlds Await You is proud to announce the Top 8 teams who have advanced to the Final Round of Competition. All NWAY teams have been working hard this semester to design and build a 3D model of a Lunar Habitat within a Lunar Lava Tube. These creative middle school...

By helping to fund our programs for motivated Middle and High School students with an interest in exploring space, you advance 21st century careers for underrepresented minorities, female, and economically disadvantaged students.

Support a space
exploration pioneer