Would placing a bound notebook in a binder still get you 3 extra points?

would this still get you extra points? if you had a bound notebook inside a binder, and loose leaf paper? you are still using a bound notebook after all right?


Yes it would … I would check judge guide when it is released.


It would be fine at worlds where all the Judges follow the Judges Guide (based on the 2018-19 version), however, I know for a fact that there are some EP’s and Judge Advisors who have their own opinion about what constitutes a “bound” notebook, sometimes to the point that having non-bound material would not only eliminate the 3-point bonus, but keep you out of consideration for the design or excellence award (I observed this at a local event once…I was not a judge however, just a worker-bee at that one).


I imagine it will depend on the judges at any given tournament, but to me, it would depend on what the loose leaf paper was used for. If items that are part of the design rubric are not in the bound notebook I would not give the 3 points.

To go to an extreme, what if a team turns in a binder that has a bound notebook that is blank and all the design materials on loose leaf?

I’d recommend that anything you want considered for the Design Award be in the bound notebook. If there are other materials, say that show your community involvement by mentoring a new team, have that in a binder with you in the pits and show the judges when they come by for the interview .


what if its half and half? like the bound notebook is full, and theres a bunch of loose leaf paper with wok on them

If I were the judge, that would not count as bound - unless you mean that the loose leaf pages are taped, in chronological order, in the bound notebook.


If the first notebook is full, start a 2nd notebook and then put both into a binder so they stay together in the right sequence.

It would probably be best to get an official response, but here’s my take on the 3 point bonus…

I think there were at least 2 reasons the 3 point bonus for bound notebooks being implemented. First, there was a binders “arms race” . Teams were turning in multiple large binders just full of stuff and it was overwhelming for judges to review. (I personally witnessed a team with a hand cart stacked with binders in line for MS judges interview at the US Open before the 3 point bonus was instituted. ) Second, using a bound notebook is more restrictive than a binder. Pages can not be removed or rewritten or spellchecked in a handwritten bound notebook. It’s also requires more coordination and planning on the part of a team using a bound notebook.

Using loose leaf reduces or eliminates some of those issues and so, in my mind, should not be rewarded with the 3 point bonus.


thanks for your opinion. @DanMantz, do you have a take on this? thanks!

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Having multiple bound notebooks in a binder together (in the right sequence) is absolutely acceptable and still qualifies for the 3 point bonus. I see this a lot at events I attend, especially towards the end of the season.

  • Dan

thanks for the input!

would you still get the three points if there are some loose leaf papers in that binder with the bound notebook?

There are two factors here: first, it depends on what the loose papers are, and secondly, it depends on who is the judge and/or judge advisor.

On the first point, if I were the judge, and the loose papers were things like a printout of the current code the robot is running, photographs of the current robot, a promotional brochure you’re using to help scout, or a copy of a letter from your congressman congratulating your team (our U-team has one :grinning:), then I would award the 3 bonus points. But if the loose papers were an item on the rubric, like game analysis, then no, I wouldn’t give you the 3 point bonus because there is no objective evidence that you did the game analysis before the robot design, as is listed in the rubric. The bound handwritten notebook provides the objective evidence to support the timeline (yes, I know you could have left blank pages and filled them in later, or rewritten your whole notebook by hand the night before, but I’ll use the interview to confirm your notebook).

On the second point, there are some judges and judge advisors who will deny you the 3 point bonus simply because of the loose pages, without any consideration. And worse, there are some judges and judge advisors who would go beyond the rubric and not consider your submission at all for any judged awards.

Here’s the bottom line: if you decide not to use a bound handwritten notebook, then you must convince me during your interview that you actually used the design process and didn’t just build a tinkerbot and type a nice notebook later. The onus is on you, the competitor to convice me, the judge, that your fancy printed documents were not done by engineer/English major mentors.

The other point to remember is that when it comes to a design or excellence award, the notebook (and the 3 bonus points) is only part of the requirement: only the teams with high-scoring notebooks will be interviewed by design award judges (or be considered for design award at smaller events). It’s during the interview that judges will make their award decisions…so PRACTICE INTERVIEWING with your mentors, coaches, parents, or teachers , and get feedback.


What are you planning on doing with the loose leaf paper? (Like what is their purpose?) because like @kmmohn said, a factor of if you get the three points is dependent on who the judges are or if the judges would consider the loose leaf to be contributing to any criteria on the award rubric. So if there was a way to have what you want on loose leaf paper in a bound notebook, it would eliminate the risk of losing three points.


yea that makes sense. for now w’ere just not going to take the risk. I was planning on using the graph paper on like game analysis, and then the notebook for more “daily” logs

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Just paste these pages into your bound notebook as you develop them. Perfectly acceptable. date and sign an edge of the pasted graphic into your notebook.


using clear tape?

20 char

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You could use tape, but I have had judges say to use glue because then the pages won’t accidentally fall out or can’t purposely be removed (so they are in the notebook permanently)

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Many of the notebooks are graph paper


uh wut . i know that but like who were you responding to


I think @ChrisR246 is saying that many bound notebooks already have pages that look like graph paper (I think the one included in the welcome kit does, too), so you wouldn’t need to tape in graph paper from an outside source.

On the other hand, if you want graph paper on some pages and a different style on other pages, you could still tape in paper of the other style, if you sign and write the date across the edge of it.