What Goes Into an Engineering Notebook Binder?

My team just found out we qualified for state, (yay!) and some of the other teams have binders with their notebook in it, but some other papers are included in the binder. Does anyone else put something into their notebook binder, besides their notebook? Thanks!

I put the code printed off into the binder pocket. Most teams won’t put actual documentation loose into a binder, as it will lose them 5 points for “not having a bound notebook” on the rubric. (I learned this the hard way, lol)

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Don’t do this. Write everything related to the design process in your notebook and turn it in. No binder necessary.


as part of judging teams, your statement is incorrect. When top teams are within a point of one another, that extra five points for bound notebook is important.

to be sure, your design process should be defined at beginning of season and followed authentically through out the season.

Which one?

Implied bound notebook bonus :slight_smile:

No binder necessary.

and to be sure - it is ambiguous at what I was responding to - Bound notebook bonus is important when considering top teams, as top teams have good design processes.

apologies for misattributions

You mean to say that a binder is necessary?

I’m pretty sure he was saying ‘no binder necessary’ in reference to having a 3-ring type binder (in which one would put your notebook and ‘some other papers’ as referenced in the original post.

To clarify -
You would definitely want to have a bound notebook!
But you don’t need to have a 3-ring binder with your notebook and other stuff in it. Just document everything (including code) in your notebook along the way.


bound notebook is gets you 5 point bonus


^Not Good^

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Apologies - I think the first priority is being authentic with design process, document what your process is, adhere to it whole season.

I have been reviewing a lot of notebooks, and it is clear which teams have a process to solve problems. It is evident with the robot the created, improved performance on the field throughout the season, and fidelity of the process verified through a bound notebook, or this season, timestamp verification.

I am impressed with the quality of work this season, despite a pandemic, and the lengths teams have gone to make this season work and use technology to assist their collaborations when physically separated.


The reason teams might want a binder is because tryhard notebookers like me can sometimes fill 2 notebooks. As long as your stuff is inside a bound notebook inside a binder, it still gets the bonus

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actually, no … bound notebook is bound. Binder is not… that said, if you have bound notebooks connected in a binder is ok - but then rubber bands are ok for that.

so if your content is not in a bound notebook - 1 or 1000, it will not qualify for the bound notebook (apart this season which digital timestamped documents would count towards the definition of “bound”)

I continue to emphasize focus first on defining your design process (document it !)), then adhere to the process throughout the season by using it for each problem you identify and iterating to improving your solutions. That is usually what is missing from most teams.

Deciding to building a robot based on a video you saw on Youtube is not a design process (usually) unless you have identified clearly what problem you were trying to solve … and grafting a solution from YouTube, does not really fit, unless you improve on what you saw.

Don’t expect judges to understand jargon for the season, such as snail, hood, or poop. It does not help - articulating the problem your are trying to solve. For example, the problem in this game is differentiating between an object of one color vs another and having a system to reject objects that were not useful from your mechanism, otherwise you would max out your limit to hold such objects.

Often, teams do not spell out those details. Those that do are following a process of defining the problem they are trying to solve and more likely to better document the solutions they found, tests to validate their solution, and evaluate the performance of their solution.

Long winded way to say, bound notebook nice to have, but if you are documenting a solid engineering approach to solving a problem, it is not a huge issue.


Sorry, thats what I meant. Post has been adjusted

While having a solid design process/documentation is important, 5 points being docked can make or break a design or excellence award. The only reason I could think of to not have a bound notebook is if your team has been broken up by covid.

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Thank you all! This clarified a lot!

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My team has used a binder all year to put the notebook inside of. This helps protect the notebook as last year the front page came back bent. We also now put our second notebook inside the binder to keep them together.


A binder could be useful if you had more than one notebook for some reason. Last year we had a notebook for team scouting and team stats.

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In a previous season Judging Q&A it was clearly stated that bound notebooks contained in a binder solely as a means to keep them together did get the bound bonus. As a judge at many events including VEX Worlds I have seen many teams with multiple volumes choose this method. As a coach of a team that has won design award at vex worlds I can say that the team did exactly this. I have seen teams use other methods to hold them together, but would say that a binder is a preferred method if you have multiple volumes.