Preferred engeneering notebook etiquette

I have a few questions reguarding judging preferences for the notebook. This year I want to do more than just guess how you guys want this laid out.

  1. If people were to have a brainstorm, is it fine to have everyone draw on their own paper and then tape said paper into the notebook or do you need to draw straight in it? Trying to have independent designing and then discuss while not messing up a bunch of pages.

  2. If handwriting is a team issue would you prefer entries to be transcribed by 1 team member with legible handwriting (They are not nessiscarily the one who made the entry) or would you rather everyone hand write their own entries?

  3. We know you aren’t supposed to skip pages but would it be fine to go to the last page to make a sort of glossary of team jargon and such?

  4. If we bookmark pages will you go to those or use them to aid you or are you required to ignore them?

  5. Would it be fine if I were to put all the photos in the back for nearness and refer you to that page when talking about a picture in an entry.

  6. Is it ok to have a separate notebook and build guide notebook for neatness? Does it affect the score user the ability to recreate the process?

  7. Is it fine to print a picture of the field and draw plans on it and tape it in the book? Similarly a clear picture of the bot or a cube? Just rather than drawing it.

I know we may be over complicating this but these were too many questions to just leave unaddressed.



I’ve judged a bunch of notebooks over the years (Local events, States, and Worlds), and none of the above would affect my judgement. Some preferences: #2, I’d rather see multiple people writing, #3 no issue, especially if there is a table on contents (index) on the first couple pages, #4, if judges can find the rubric items easier, then it’s easier to score.

Keep in mind the reason behind the guidelines (and a bound handwritten notebook): the various things you do in the notebook are to provide evidence that the engineering process was being done throughout the season, rather than building a tinkerbot and later typing up a perfect-looking presentation just before competition.

Some of your wording (like “are your required to ignore them”) tells me you haven’t read the Judges Guide, which tells about the judging process (and tells what is required and what isn’t). Here’s a link: You’ll find the engineering notebook rubric around page 20-21.

Disclaimer: I has seen in the forums that some EP’s, especially at local events, ignore the judge’s guide and do whatever they want.


A lot of my answers to this are from preference and experience but also from some general feedback that we’ve heard from judges,

  1. We’ve done this before and have been told that its fine - often it is good to show everyone’s ideas and working into one book just isn’t viable sometimes so this does make sense. However, I would recommend that they are secured well and aren’t too scrappy - presentation makes a MASSIVE difference.

  2. I understand this issue but one person writing can look like a lack of collaboration with the rest of the team and instead that just one person carried the whole notebook process so I wouldn’t recommend doing this. Also I wouldn’t recommend one person doing the notebook by themselves just in terms of that being a massive project for one person to undertake and it should be something that everyone should feel like they’ve been a part of.

  3. This is fine, I would mention that you’ve done this in the contents - maybe a specific label etc. that makes these pages stand out would also help. Far too many times I’ve just seen judges just flick through pages and once there are no more entries put it down.

  4. Seems fine - anything that makes it clearer for them to mark seems like a plus.

  5. I wouldn’t recommend this - instead, have the photos embedded - firstly for clarity and logically making sense to refer to an image on the page and explain it. But also, you would end up having massive blocks of text and judges hate this.

  6. We’ve used separate notebooks like this before - so it should be fine.

  7. 100% ok - the more pictures the better, you can learn so much more from an image than a bunch of text. I’d recommend having a mix of sketches of designs and images of it once it is finished.

I hope this helps, best of luck this season!