Preparing for the new season - Early Season Design Process

This post is for teams and coaches on how to get started on an early season design process and starting a quality notebook before the new game is announced April 26th.

First step is to research what Judges are looking for in team notebooks at events. A good resource is the Judge Guide:

It discusses the judging process and has the rubrics used to evaluate notebooks. The rubrics are never to be returned to the teams:

Rubrics are confidential judging documents and are not to be returned to the team, coach, or Event Partner. Rubrics are to be destroyed immediately after the Judge Advisor has recorded the winning team.

You should ask members of the club to review your notebook regularly using the rubric and track weak spots - for example, consistently applying a design process to your problem solving throughout the season.

The second step is looking at exemplars of notebooks - RECF has posted one that won at Worlds - you can see how they had a consistent design approach throughout the season:

The notebook has a clear table of contents and you can see how the robot developed with specific information about how to recreate the robot.

The third step is to start your team notebook, bound is preferred, always write in pen. Here are some items you can start now before the game is announced:

  • Introduce the team and the club, bios of all the team members, some initial roles is ok
  • A reflection from the past season to inform your goals for the season
  • Season Goals for the season
  • The team’s design process

Once the game is announced you will want to develop:

  • Game analysis
  • Team’s game strategy for early season

You will want then to start researching mechanisms for the game and make proof of concepts of them. Document these opportunities in your notebook. Be sure to categorize them clearly in the table of contents for easy reference, “lift ideas”

Most importantly, document everything every day and refer back to how it supports your teams season goals and game strategy.

This is only a start, more to come. Feel free to add your advice to help teams and coaches out.