We have a lot of writing, some sketches, and a little bit of our calculations. What are some things you would add to make the notebook better? What are some hacks and tips you would suggest to beginners for the notebook? Anything extra?
Keep it simple:
Our team has many artifacts - sketches, as built drawings, material lists, timing sheets for autonomous plans, robot performance evaluation (speed trials), etc. All to show growth of the design over time.
That team, and teams before it, has done well with that approach.
Most importantly, it is not something you do the night before, it is a document that shows the growth of the team and its design process.
Download the judges guide: https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2018/09/vrc-judge-guide-2018-19.pdf and look on page 21 and 22 for the Design Award Rubric. This is the first thing judges will look at when reviewing your engineering notebook. Write your notebook (which you should have been doing from the start of the season, of course) so that each of the rubric items are covered (and easy for the judges to find), and your team will stand out as a candidate for the Design or Excellence Award. The actual decision between outstanding teams will be made based on the interviews, so don't discount the importance of the interview process.
Here's an article about notebooks that might be helpful: https://renegaderobotics.org/engineering-notebook-design-award/