Unofficial: Why do we need an Engineering Notebook?


First, I’m a bit shocked that you’re in VEX and asking what an engineering notebook is. It’s a notebook that you and your team log their work on the robot in as you design, build, program, compete with, modify it, etc. It’s basically a diary about the robot. It’s a part of learning and applying the engineering/design process and teams are very strongly encouraged to keep one. Technically, you’re not required to have one for competitions, but it’s pretty much a must-have since it lets the judges get an insight into the design process behind your robot, and it is used in consideration for the Design Award and indirectly the Excellence Award, which can get you qualified for higher-level tournaments.

If you haven’t kept one, I suggest you get started on it. VEX sells them on their store for $10 per notebook, and if your team has access to a competition kit bought from the store, there should be engineering notebooks that came with it. A rule of thumb for a good engineering notebook is, in the words of my former STEM teacher, where if an external observer can get their hands on the notebook and read it, they can reproduce the robot faithfully. Essentially, whatever you and your team do to the robot should be documented in detail in the engineering notebook.

I suggest you read the Rubric. Design Award Rubric It explains what they are looking for and processes they are trying to promote.

Thanks guys. :slight_smile:

I am planning on doing a notebook as well. However I was wondering if your notebook isn’t very good, will that hinder you in earning awards other than design and excellence awards?

It is ok to have a notebook early in the season not be very good. You can improve it and the judges will surely note the growth of your team. We all haves to start somewhere.

It may factor in to any number of judged awards, but it will not have a direct impact on Tournament Champion or Skills.

I never bothered with VEX’s official notebools, but can we all take a moment to recognize how vastly overpriced that is?

Looking up ‘Engineering Notebook’ on Amazon, a $10 notebook would be right in the middle of the price range. Seems fair.

You don’t have to buy from VEX, but you have the option to buy a quality notebook from them if you prefer. Also fair.

I can’t believe simple notebooks could be so expensive. I just get composition notebooks for less than a dollar.

I googled:

bound quadrille lab notebook

And screen shot the top of the results page:

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.26.53 AM.png

I know those are sponsored ads, but the Staples isn’t known as a high-priced source of materials. I think the low cost of composition books is due to the high volume of the printed paper and the relatively low quality of acceptable paper and printing.