Are there any specific questions you are asked for the Excellence award interview?

I would like to know if there is a set list of questions that teams are asked during the interview, and if I’d be able to answer these questions via powerpoint presentation or something similar. Do they ask any questions about the design notebook?

I don’t know about a list of questions, and assuming you mean in qualifier competitions and not worlds: it really depends on the event and judges. If you have a powerpoint, then make it last around 5 minutes because time is often short. That will probably not help you get the award unless it helps you talk about the robot.
The notebook is extremely important. If you aren’t using one, then you have a serious disadvantage to someone who is. Make it organized, have diary entries, label drawings, put pictures in, and make sure someone can pick it up and perhaps with a look at your robot, figure out you general design process.

Oh, I have a notebook. I’ve been working on it since April when the game was first announced. Our team is documenting everything we do in this notebook. We take pictures every day, have a work log, have a schedule, an area for robot test results (how much it can score in a set amount of time, and where) an autonomous/programming details section, competition results for our team, evaluation of performance at competitions, and our notebook follows the NASA Engineering Design Process format (Step 1: Identify the Problem, Step 2: Identify Criteria and Constraints, Step 3: Brainstorm Possible Solutions, Step 4: Generate Ideas, Step 5: Explore Possibilities, Step 6, Select an Approach, Step 7: Build a Model or Prototype, and Step 8: Refine the Design (ongoing) )

So I think my team is perfectly covered as far as the notebook goes. I just wanted to ask if there were specific interview questions we should make note of.

Reference the judges handbook as it gives you pointers to what is graded for each award. Since excellence is essentially being able to win multiple of these other awards, your criteria should be the super set of these.

(Criteria for various awards starts on page 8)

Many judges keep the notebooks and the powerpoint may distract from the judges looking through your other materials. The judges also keep the notebooks until deliberations are done and tally excellence from that point forward. Can you leave a printout of the powerpoint too as part of the engineering notebook?

You only have a few minutes so don’t waste time setting up a projector and the like.

However, if the powerpoint highlights certain areas of the notebook or your process, then it would be useful. But if it does not show it in the same way and is not left behind, it may not be as useful as you would have hoped.

Make sure everyone talks so it shows a team effort and not an individual one. Some are better presenters than others but you can figure it out amongst yourselves.

Show your design process, what worked and more importantly what didn’t then what you changed because of that failure. Tell the story of your robot and how you got to where you are. Did you plan any of this or was it a happy accident?

When you get down to it, it’s what they say is the criteria for Excellence:

  • Performance on field
  • Performance in skills (both kinds)
  • Design Award criteria (including design notebook)
  • Amaze award criteria
  • Build award criteria
    (keep going from there on the other awards)