Tips for Creating An Award-Winning Engineering Notebook What is the purpose of an Engineering Notebook? • Show the process that your team takes to create their robot • Act as a storage unit for design ideas • Help team members successfully communicate with each other and remember reasoning behind ideas • Rep your team • Keep team on track TIP #1: Handwritten vs. Electronic Handwritten Electronic • Shows originality and team work • Harder to remove pages • Easier to loose • Illegible handwriting • No stubborn Word formatting • • • • Really difficult to loose No illegible handwriting Can’t tell who wrote what Easier to remove content For Electronic Notebooks… • • • • No larger than 1.5” binder Sheet protectors look professional All pages must be numbered and in order 2 people must sign each entry: the person who wrote the entry and a witness For Handwritten Notebooks… • Must be spiral bound, laboratory, or documentation notebook • No loose leaf • Numbered pages are highly recommended (but not necessary) • The person who wrote the entry must sign their name According to FIRST… “Teams may choose to record their season with either handwritten or electronic or online documents. No distinction is made between handwritten and electronic Engineering Notebooks during judging.” TIP #2: Regardless of your medium, you should have… • Title page (team name, number, game name, game year, the words “engineering notebook”, and maybe a picture of the team) • Table of Contents that use the title of each page as reference • Page numbers on every page • Titles on every page • The author of each page should sign and date their work • Sticky Tabs (6-12) TIP #3: The judges want to know who they are judging, so… • Include individual bios of team members, coaches, and mentors with pictures – Name, grade or age, interests, reason for joining FTC or robotics team • Outreach activities and community involvement • Team activities • Show team spirit and personality • Sticky Tabs (6-12) TIP #4: Just like school papers, engineering notebooks have a specific format… • Caption all visuals (nothing worse than unexplained, random content) • Number pages • Table of contents • Leave no blank spaces For Handwritten Notebooks… • Blank space should be X-ed out neatly with a signature and date • Visuals should be outlined in ink so if they fall out, it is known they should be there • Use both sides of the page • Signature and date • Page numbers • Start a new page each meeting For Electronic Notebooks… • Somehow indicate who authored what content and when • Use headings and styles for easy table of content population • Leave no blank space • No crazy fonts and font sizes (recommended size 12, Times New Roman or Arial) • Page numbers TIP #5: Some people are more visual • Include: – Charts – Graphs – Data tables – Pictures – Drawings – CAD Models • BUT adding content without explaining it is adding random content, use captions! A few notes about visuals • Electronic – There is a caption function in Word, right click on the picture and choose insert caption. • Handwritten – Visuals should be outlined so if they fall out, it is known they are missing. – Visuals should also be captioned. TIP #6: Include… • A page in the front of the book with your team’s engineering process • Follow this process throughout the book • Great place for a visual! Brainstorm Design Build Identify Constraints and Strategize Refine Test Build TIP #7: Teamwork can be shown in a number of ways… • If everyone writes something in the notebook • If pictures and visuals demonstrate teamwork • If writing demonstrates teamwork TIP #8: The Notebook is About Engineering… • Show design rationale • Use data, models, prototypes, etc. • Basically, explain not only your design but also HOW and WHY you came up with your design • Explain revisions in order to show design evolution TIP #9: If you can’t read it, they can’t! • Use neat handwriting • Draw a SINGLE line through mistakes, initial and date them • Tape in pictures (it looks and feels better than glue) • Use permanent ink (not pencil) • Treat your notebook with care (it shouldn’t look like the team dog chewed it up!) TIP #10: Requirement Reminders • Bill of Materials (one in notebook and one at competition for inspection) • Team name and number on title page and cover • Pages in order • Sticky Tabs (6-12) • Team bios Useful Resources • Usfirst.org • All information regarding the Engineering Notebook is on pages 13-15 of the Game Manual Part 1 • Examples of scanned winning notebooks available at usfirst.org • You can e-mail Mary or I with questions: [email protected] [email protected] Hope this helped! Questions?