I am on a VEX IQ Crossover robotics team in my school and I had a question.
I was wondering about what it takes to make a winning Engineering notebook?
Like, what do we need to have in there to win the Excellence Award?
Please be specific with answers…
We are a VRC team, but I can tell you what judges love to see in notebooks. First, it is important to have short biographies about each member of your team. I would recommend that you try to focus not only on their lives in robotics, but also their lives outside of robotics. When you add other activities outside of robotics, it allows judges to see what your other commitments are. Next, you need to accurately define the goal that you are trying to achieve. This goal should be something very specific about the game. For example(I will use VRC Starstruck), we said our goal was to create a robot that has a high hang, and throws stars into the far zone. The rest of your notebook should be dedicated to how you achieved this goal. And yes, your goal could change throughout the remainder of the season. If you competed in previous years, you could add things that you learned last year that you are going to try to fix this year. Next, you need to accurately show your robot’s design process from beginning to end. Judges for VRC think that they should be able to recreate your robot from your notebook. You should make sure you add paragraphs(both handwritten and typed), and then add pictures for each stage as well. My team throws in how many hours were worked and we also note what things went wrong during the day to try and fix in other stages of design. After our competitions, you should write a summary of how it went so that judges know how well you competed. You should add what performed correctly, what performed wrong, and what specific things you are going to work on in the design process. After you have all your pages, I would highly suggest putting them in plastic covers and binding them into a binder.
Any questions, let me know! Very happy to help!
I’m also in VRC, but I have judged VEX IQ notebooks before. My first tip would be to make sure you have entries at every single practice. Keep a consistent format as far as dates and titles, but if it is handwritten, have different people write to show that it is a team effort. Your engineering notebook shouldn’t start with the beginning of the robot. This is a common mistake in VEX IQ. It needs to begin with brainstorming. Show the ideas that your team thought of, the pros and cons, and which one you chose and why. Then begin to show the building of your robot. As you begin to test it, show both flaws and successes, and then show what changes you made. Once again, always explain WHY.
I would also suggest lots of pictures of the robot and the team at both practices and competitions.
If you have any other questions, I’d be glad to answer.
Good luck this year!