I am an 8th grade team and I will be trying to go for the 8th grade excellence award. Does anyone have any recommendations that could help me and my team achieve this goal?
I would study the Judge Guide and Awards appendix carefully when they come out later this summer. Excellence represents the best overall robotics program in the competition. This means you have to be great at a lot of things. Start with cultivating a good design process with your team and document it thoroughly. Judges will use the notebook to see how you are adhering to your process and look at the robot for a quality design and build. Performance wise, you have to be really good in matches as well as skills. Autonomous and programming skills are usually good to rise above the rest of the competitive field.
Make sure that everyone in your group shares the same goal.
Three things, and the prior post covered them, but let me add some nuance.
Notebook has to be amazing. Reach out to top teams in your area and build a better notebook than they did. Indexes, colors, pictures, drawings, etc. Make your engineering notebook your description of your path to success.
Interview practice. Explain the robot, explain what you did that worked, talk about what didn’t and how you iterated and fixed it. One of the top teams nailed the interview. I stopped them in the hall and asked “how did you just do that interview?” “Easy, we sat in front of 8 people for an hour and they asked a million questions, we learned to answer all of them”
Build a great robot.
In regards to notebook which is a major part of it, there are plenty of previous topics to look through. Also, the more awards you are a finalist for the better chance of excellence award, so look at the rubric for other awards as well