What sort of drawings are the judges looking for in our notebooks?

Basically I want to know how I can best format my presentation of my robot to conform to professional standards and appear in the best light possible. Please help

The main thing judges want to see is the process that you have gone through to get your robot to the point your robot is at now. They like to see timelines of changes with diagrams of the changes that you made along the way. The judges also like to see that you followed to design process; they want to know what prompted the changes that you made and how the changes progressed.

In short they would like to see drawings of the large checkpoints along the way that have caused you to end up at the point you are at now.

Your notebook should be a tool that helps you iteratively develop strategies, requirements, designs, tests and implementations.

So what will most impress an astute judge, will be for you to highlight the drawings that you used to determine “what to do next” for any of the topics I listed above.

A notebook that was only used to record the past is useful only in some very narrow senses.

A notebook that was one of the tools that made it possible to determine what to do next, is a tool worth having in your toolbox.

Find a time during the season when you made one or several drawings in your notebook that helped you choose what your best next step would be, and highlight those drawings (along with the conclusion they helped you reach).

Do the same for tables of calculations, or lists of brainstormed options you chose among, or any other material in the notebook that helped shape the future of your team.

Highlight all of these as examples of following whatever process/method you followed/used to accomplish your team’s goals, and as examples of how having and using a notebook gives you a tool that helps you accomplish that process.

Like I said above, an astute judge (helped by post-it notes or other methods of pointing out how you used your notebook at important junctures) will recognize the difference between what I described above, and merely taking notes to record the past; and should reward you for doing the former instead of the latter.


Another thing that judges like to see is any math that you did to improve your design. Some examples of this are force calculations and volume calculations (if you use pneumatics). As said above it is very important that the notebook be a tool that you have used and not simply a record of what was done or accomplished. A person should be able to follow the notebook and know why and how you ended up with the resulting robot that you have.