ENGINEERING NOTEBOOK TIPS AND TRICKS
These are some tips and tricks that we have discovered while completing our Engineering Notebook over the years. The Engineering Notebook is one of the most important aspects of robotics other than robot since it documents the history of the robot your team built.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
You always want to have a designated group of people that manage and complete a majority of the Engineering Notebook. Choose 2-3 people from the team (or a small fraction if your team is a small team) to manage the Engineering Notebook. Choose people who can be trusted to constantly update the notebook without fail and will make sure that everyone else is staying on task with their work. These people will be making sure that everything in the notebook gets accomplished as well as getting everything documented.
KEEP UP WITH TASKS
The Engineering Notebook’s job is to document what a person has done and what they plan to do next as well as documenting the process. It is important to utilize the notebook as a way of planning because without a plan, a team cannot decide on what to do.
CREATE A TEMPLATE
Create a template of the Engineering Notebook that suits your specific team. Be sure to include a place for assigned tasks, an agenda, notes, and reflections. These are key aspects to the Engineering Notebook. Don’t be afraid to be as creative as you wish to since this Engineering Notebook is your team’s.
During the meetings, everyone eventually gets to learn something, whether it’s one part on the robot that doesn’t work and they need to use an alternative or if they learned the use of one part. TAKE NOTES OVER EVERYTHING. These notes show the judges what you are learning and the amount of thought that your team had in building this robot. Also, in case you need to reference something later in the season, your notebook has your notes.
SET TIME FOR REFLECTIONS
After every outreach event, team building event, and meeting, every team member should complete a reflection over what they did and what they learned from it. Try to have a set time near the end of the meeting to have all of the team members at the meeting to write their reflections. As for the outreach events and team building, assign the members at the next meeting their reflections and hold them accountable afterwards. Judges love to see that everyone on the team is contributing to the Engineering Notebook in some way.