STEM Research Project and Engineering Notebook

We are new to VEX IQ. Can you clarify the STEM Research Project and Engineering Notebook? Are either or both required for teams to participate? Are either/both required for teams to advance to the next round? When and how during the tournament are they assessed, and what percentage of the team’s score are they worth? Thanks.

Thank you for your question.

It is true that the Engineering Notebook criteria has been more open ended in the past. This has resulted in some confusion amongst teams as to what is expected by judges. The current VEX IQ Engineering Notebook requirements have been adopted to help teams understand what judges are looking for, especially as teams move on to Worlds.

The VEX IQ Engineering Notebook supplied by the REC Foundation did change this year. In previous years the notebook given to VEX IQ teams was the same notebook given to VRC teams. The new Engineering Notebook was developed to be more age appropriate for VEX IQ students, especially elementary students. The inside cover of the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook contains notes that explain to teachers and other adult mentors the documentation that should be included as well as how to record entries in the notebook.

The example that is on line was chosen because it is the best example available at this time of what judges should be looking for. It included student inputs, examples of code, and drawings. The format differs somewhat from the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook for the simple reason that the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook did not exist last year. There should be a new example Engineering Notebook posted next year that will feature the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook.

The Design Rubric outlines the criteria judges use during their evaluation of team notebooks. It is made available to teams so that they are aware of the criteria that judges use. The rubric contains a bonus of 3 points for bound Engineering Notebooks. At this time, judges are still instructed to accept all Engineering Notebooks submitted. However unbound notebooks will be at a disadvantage in terms of judging. Teams should understand that judges may also take a notebook’s format into account as they make their deliberations on the Design and Excellence award.

The new document differentiating between notebook content and journals is also new this season. The purpose of these changes was to further define the content that notebooks should include.

Tarek Shraibati

Thanks for the question.

Both the STEM Research Project and Engineering Notebook are optional items in the VEX IQ program. They are available to teams that wish to participate in the full range of activities available to VEX IQ teams. New teams will sometimes wait to participate in all VEX IQ program activities until they have had a chance to develop their program.

However teams should be aware that the Engineering Notebook is required for teams wishing to be considered for the Design Award. Furthermore both the Engineering Notebook and STEM Research Project are required to be consider for the Excellence Award in the VEX IQ program.

The number of qualifying spots that move on to the next level is determined by the regional support manager in your area. In some cases teams winning the Excellence Award, Design Award and STEM Research Project Award may qualify to the next level.

Teams wishing to be considered for Excellence, Design, or STEM Research Project at VEX Worlds must have won one of these awards at the STATE/Provincial/Regional/National level. Teams should review the VEX IQ Awards Appendix for full details on the qualifying criteria for these awards at VEX Worlds.

The event partner will work with the judge advisor at an event to schedule judging activities for awards at an event. Notebooks are generally collected during team check in. STEM Project Presentations are typically scheduled by the event partner. Please address questions regarding scheduling at events to the event partner.

Rankings in terms of qualifying matches do not include notebooks or STEM Project presentations. Questions regarding rankings should be addressed to the official VEX IQ forums.

Tarek Shraibati