What is an Engineering Notebook Entry?
An Engineering Notebook Entry is the page or pages written every workday which is put in a section of your Engineering Notebook to keep track of the season.
Why is Engineering Notebook Entries important?
- To keep track of what has been done
- If a team member misses a meeting, they could check the Engineering Notebook and know what they have missed and where to keep going.
- Judges review a team’s notebook when considering awards.
Engineering Notebook Tips
- Make sure every team member documents what they did at every meeting. You don’t want one single person being in charge of entries, and making sure the team is consistent in documentation helps in the long run. Judges like to see different team members writing entries.
- Check in and make sure the entries are done in a timely manner. Some teams have rules where you can’t touch the robot until the previous entry is done.
- Document competitions – You can learn a lot at competitions and documenting things you learn can help you reflect and improve your robot.
- Document the points your robot earned, what went well and what didn’t, as well as what other teams did well
There is no right or wrong way to format your Entries, and all teams will format their Engineering Notebook Entries a little bit differently. Entries. However, date and members names are required for every entry.
How FIX IT 3491 does Engineering Notebook Entries
Over the years, FIX IT has changed the way we format our Entries, currently ( 2019 – 2020, ) we format it as:
- Title (Work day, programming, competition, etc)
- Who was there?
- What kind of meeting was it?
- What date and time was the meeting held?
A short but relevant reflection on tasks that has been completed throughout the meeting. Our reflections could be anything from a very detailed and thought out reflection, to a small funny comment about the task at hand.
You are not only saying what happened at the meeting. FIX IT likes to follow a formula similar to this one, for every task.
- Description of the task
- Changes made and why changes are made
- Pictures of the Mechanism ( both in real life, and in CAD ).
- Try to include all sketches and pictures of the robot when new mechanisms come on the robot. Notes and calculations should be also put in the notebook!
- What kind of difficulties did you face and how did you solve them?
- What did you learn?
- What was the final result? What’s next?
- To do List – List of tasks for what’s next
- What is the agenda today and what are our goals? These often come from the next steps from the previous meeting.
- What decisions did your team make?
- How did your team make those decisions?
- Why did you make that choice?
- What was the impact?
- What is the next step?
Being able to reflect on the future at the beginning and the end of the meeting allows us to always be moving in a forwards direction and learning as we go through our robot design process.
In the past, it was a requirement to have each team member sign each Engineering Notebook Entry, although that is no longer required, some teams still have each team member sign to acknowledge that every member has read every Entry.
Some teams also like to add a personal flair to their Engineering Notebook Entries, like adding a fun fact in each entry. FIRST Tech Challenge team “PrestidigiTaters 9761” adds a new potato dish/ snack in each Entry.
It can give the judges something special to remember you by. If you can think of something special that links to your team branding, even better!
Thank you for reading “How to Write an Engineering Notebook Entry,” we hoped that we have helped you. If you have any more questions or comments please feel free to let us know through our Google Form:
This was last updated on the 9th of August. 2020.
For anything more recent, make sure to check the current Game Manual Part One and Engineering Notebook Guidelines which can be found here.
This post is only applicable to the FIRST Tech Challenge.