All students on a GeoChallenge team must be in grades five through eight. Teams can include students of different grade levels within those specified grade levels.
Any U.S. public school, private school, homeschool, or informal education organization with students in grades five through eight may participate in the GeoChallenge.
Only one project may be submitted per team, but a school/organization may have multiple teams.
Teams from schools in one of the U.S. Territories or Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools abroad can participate and submit projects for appraisal. These teams will be appraised virtually at the regional level.
Adult involvement in the GeoChallenge must be minimal. GeoChallenge Coordinators, GeoChallenge Coaches, and adult volunteers cannot actively participate in the research, design, testing, or building of any parts of the project. Adult roles include organizing the team, providing meeting places, ensuring safety, and giving encouragement. Adults may instruct students on how to use tools—including mechanical tools, hardware, or software—needed to create the project, but they may not actively work on the project, contribute ideas, or provide solutions at the risk of disqualifying a team. Adults make sure rules are followed and remind students of the Explorer's Code, requirements, and deadlines.
Individuals who have received funding or support from the National Geographic Society (e.g., fellows, grantees, explorers) or are employees of the National Geographic Society or National Geographic Partners may not participate in the GeoChallenge as a Coach or Coordinator.
For the solution and map, students are encouraged to use available school materials or materials from home. Using repurposed or recycled materials is encouraged. GeoChallenge materials and videos should be created in a way that does not require expensive purchases. Spending large amounts of money on a GeoChallenge project will not increase a team’s odds of advancing in the competition.
Appraisal of the projects will focus on design, innovation, and creativity, not on the value of the materials or equipment used to create the project. Basic video equipment, including mobile devices, may be used for the video submission. Appraisal of the videos will focus on creativity and not on the image quality or sophistication of recording or editing equipment used.