My team is using the standard 130 page notebook and yesterday day we reached page 129. Our state competition is in 3 weeks, and we are wondering if it is worth starting a second notebook. We have won a design award this season so I know it is competitive.
The argument for is that we should just keep moving along. We don’t want to just stop, and it might make us loose out on an award if our last entry was 2 weeks ago. We also might be attending super regionals and we don’t want to have a dead space of a few weeks.
The argument against is that it might look like we are trying to show off as no other team (that I know of) has turned in 2 books. If we have a new notebook with only 15 pages it might look like we are just trying to show off. The end would also be less interesting as we are no longer doing decision matrix and most of our time is spent coding/driving.
What did you think that we should do? We are hoping to have some responses from people who have judged in the past.
When I say don’t start another, I mean do start writing in a new one, but dont redo the introduction and everything. It should be such that if someone taped the 2 notebooks together it wouldn’t look out of place being read straight through.
There is a caveat with my answer: If you are doing the notebook just to win and you are short on time then I would prioritize accordingly. If you consistently use the notebook as a helpful resource that you rely on tracking lessons you have learned then keep going.
Start another one but treat it as if it is still part of the first notebook. Just make sure to mark which book number it is so the judges read them chronologically. Your design process didn’t just stop when the first notebook filled up (at least it shouldn’t have) so neither should your documentation of it.
I’d recommend keeping track of the scores you are earning (assuming you do the whole skills run everytime, I know some people like to master technique stuff) and put that in the notebook! You can do super simple statistics like average score each practice, and it’s nice to have a way to quantify your improvement. I keep the scores in the notes app on my phone and crunch numbers at the end of practice. Also, if you don’t already, my team keeps some printouts of the field layout on hand so we can draw any new strategies and put those in the notebook too.
Two notebooks is definitely the way to go in this situation. There are many many teams that do it, and it will almost definitely not come off as a showoff. In fact, there is actually a team that has 10 notebooks in our state (I’m not lying. no exaggeration.). They are on track to have about 15 notebooks by states. That is waaaay too much. Don’t be like this team. They have won design and excellence almost every comp, so Their notebooks are actually good quality, they are just very repetitive and kind of dry. The judges do not want to have to look through a whole 15 notebooks, given they only have about 10-15 minutes to look at each team’s notebook. So in conclusion, start the second book, but make sure to never end up with 15 notebooks. It is literally one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard of a team doing.
The judges won’t mind if you’re using two notebooks, in fact many find it impressive, but many will mind if you’re a few weeks behind, so I’d say keep going even if you only have a few pages in the second book