Notebook Help (My first year on notebook)

So, I’m basically struggling on notebook since it’s my first year on it. I feel like it’s a little text heavy, and needs more content relating to the EDP. Thoughts?

I’ll use the feedback given for my 4th and final year of VIQC.


I’m a notebooker on a VRC team but this should still applie to you.
I think that you are right and it is very text heavy. You could also use more technical based writing instead of journal based.
As far as the engineering design process goes I think you could add the steps to build the mechanisms your talking about, as well as some more sketches of individual mechanisms.

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Wow! This is amazing! I assistant coach for more than 15 IQ MS teams, and none of them has shown me a notebook with more than 5 pages. I applaud you for putting in the work.

How many awards have you won with this notebook? Would you mind if I share it with my teams?

Here is some polish to go with my praise. First of all, I noticed that your engineering design process is slightly different than the one described in the notebook rubric. One piece of advice I can give you is to make it easy for the judges to give you lots of points. I noticed you marked your ToC when things pertained to the EDP, and that is exactly what I am talking about.

Another thing I would do different is when you do a engineering cycle. You are doing all of the stuff on one page. I make a different page for every step of the EDP so they can see my attention to every step. I think that is a good way to rack up easy pages and highlight your team’s knowledge.

Again, great job, and good luck next year!


overall, it’s quite good, especially given that this is your first time. so congrats with that!

most of the things i noticed were mentioned in other responses (text-heavy, do engineering cycles/iterations, and making it less journal-y), but one thing i do want to recommend is to not leave your birthday on the bios. that’s probably not a great thing to have, personal info-wise, and while it’s not a major thing, it’s something you probably want to fix.

other than that, excellent job!!! i help my middle school sister team out, especially with notebook, and yours in incredible in comparison to what they have as of now. y’all are doing a great job!!

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I agree this is a great looking notebook and content, no question on that. I would just advise to make it look a little less like @Entropy notebook from last year and make it look more of your own.

All I have to say is: WOW! This is an AMAZING notebook, it might be better then my team’s! And we won excellence twice, so that says something. Keep up the great work guys! :slight_smile:

I can relate to this — I did VEX for about 5 years and only considered making a proper notebook in my last year!

A quick note: appendices (I see you have an appendix A for the field) are conventionally found at the end of a document. It’s not a big deal but it’s not really an appendix if it’s midway through.

I skimmed through the rest of the notebook and it looks solid.

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I’v seen your youtube channel, Mechanical Bulls are a W! The only thing is your notebook is heavily based on autonomous, which is good and all but I highly recommend including more about building.

Hi! I don’t mind if this notebook is shared. I also haven’t won any awards with this, but I hope to win a judged award at the next comp I attend. Thanks for the advice!


dang, what region are you win where you haven’t won judged awards?

For personal safety reasons, I’d eliminate all last names and simply use initials, particularly since you’ve got pictures of the students, their school, etc. I think someone with ill intent could get a lot of personal info

North/Central FL aka Drumroll Habitat. I haven’t won any judged awards bc I’ve only been to one tournament and got really salty at it.

While it is excellent that teams are using and working off of my old notebook, I agree that it is imperative to build upon, and even improve the format.

you can always check the judges rubric online. Almost always the judges are volunteer parents and will be going exclusively off of this rubric, and even if they are highly experienced, they still are required to follow this rubric. Additionally, when making a physical notebook, I recommend using the notebook Vex provides, or something similar ( the vex one is not as overpriced as everything else they sell, surprisingly) but DO NOT use a three-ring binder, which will result in your notebook being overlooked entirely. Your current notebook looks fairly descriptive, so you at least have a great start. Best of luck!

I think your advice to use the rubric is spot on. Though OP has a lot of material I don’t see many of the expert level itesm from the rubric.

I’m confused why you would say this?

The current rubric does not require a bound notebook any longer. Also, in my experience, those who are keeping electronic notebooks, but need to present a physical notebook for judging at events, as using 3 ring binders.

Yeah that’s fair. I’ve mainly been using it as a journal. I’m gonna try with a different approach next season.

thats interesting, from my experience one of the big issues was going back into the notebook to make changes. A three ring binder allows one to do that without anyone being the wiser. maybe I’m wrong, but that’s certainly what I remember being an issue.

You are not wrong… that was the explanation given for needing a bound notebook.

But it seems to me that electronic notebooks killed that. The templates being provided for electronic notebooks have no features that prevent or detect changes or pages being added. They are Google Slide Shows or PowerPoints.

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I think to be really successful at notebooking you need to be very familiar with the rubric and then continually ask yourself - if something happened to the robot, would this notebook allow someone who had never seen it before to understand the journey and rebuild the robot?

This RECF article suggests why it doesn’t matter so much, at least for VEX engineering notebooks:

Specifically, “crossing out unused parts of a page is no longer necessary because there is no need to show that nothing was added after the page was created.” I found this interesting.