Guide to Judging: Competition Logbooks

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Overview: The Competition Logbook

REC Foundation competitions help students develop life skills that they will use in their academic and professional future. By documenting in the Competition Logbook, students practice project management, time management, brainstorming, as well as effective interpersonal and written communication skills.

The Aerial Drone Competition Logbook should include documentation about: 

  • Teamwork Mission Analysis and Strategies
  • Autonomous Flight Mission Analysis and Strategies
  • Piloting Skills Mission Analysis and Strategies
  • Drone Data and Analysis
  • Safety Plan
  • Drone Flight Logs
  • Team and Leadership

Submitting a Competition Logbook is not a requirement for teams to receive an in-person interview, and all teams at an event will have the opportunity to interview.

Teams may purchase a physical competition logbook or use any one of various computer applications or cloud-based services available for digitally creating and maintaining a digital Competition Logbook. Regardless of the format, all logbooks are evaluated by the Judges according to the same award criteria and rubric. Documentation via logbooks should commence at the first team meeting, and continue through the completion of the season.

All Competition Logbooks should contain these elements:

  • Team number on the cover/beginning of document
  • Unedited entries
  • Each page/entry chronologically numbered and dated
  • Each page/entry signed or initialed by the student author

Suggested topics for Competition Logbooks

Game Analysis Documentation

Teams should include detailed documentation that includes: 

  • Identify the mission problem or challenge you must solve or want to overcome
  • Brainstorm and document solutions to the challenge
  • Analyze Options: Document data, conversations, team discussions, decision matrices or any other methods you use to analyze the options you are considering to solve the problem
  • Create a Solution: Document which solutions you want to test
  • Test Solutions: Document results of solution. What worked? What didn’t?
  • Repeat as needed until you fully refine your solution

Drone Data and Analysis

Show documentation for any data gathered that is relevant to your drone, coding, competition.  Some examples include:

  • Flight Characteristics
  • Battery Analysis
  • Coding Data
  • Flight Reviews
  • Practice Results
  • Competition Results
  • CAD models - some teams use CAD programs to model the drone used in competition, propose changes and model those changes.  If used, teams should add this to their competition logbook

Safety Plan

Share how your team engages in safety when it comes to Drones.  Some examples include:

Drone Flight Logs

Drone Flight Logs are kept by drone pilots to ensure that they are complying with the rules that apply to them when flying. While this is not required under current FAA regulations, it certainly has enough benefits to make it a worthy idea for documentation.  In the Aerial Drone Competition, we encourage teams to keep a flight log and include:

  • Organized and detailed record of the team's flight times
  • Problems encountered: broken motors, bent propellers, or crashes are common entries
  • Solutions and/or repairs made.

Team and Leadership

Being part of an Aerial Drone Competition Team is a rewarding and learning experience for students.  Share your team and leadership experiences. Suggested topics include:

  • Member introductions, including team name and photos
  • Mission statement and/or goals
  • Team jobs and leadership roles
  • Communication methods, both on and off the field
  • Reflections on team dynamics, challenges, and/or problems

Drone Career Connections

Drones are quickly becoming a tool used in industries around the globe.  We encourage students to learn and explore how drones are used by professionals in their careers.  Share what your team has learned. Suggested topics include:

  • Identify companies and/or industries that are using drones as a tool and explain how they are used.
  • Connect the 4 Missions of the Aerial Drone Competition (Teamwork, Autonomous, Piloting and Communications) to how they prepare students for future careers.

Additional Logbook Elements for Consideration

Outstanding Competition Logbooks should contain these additional elements:

  • Table of contents
  • Logbook entries beginning from the first team meeting
  • Observations and thoughts of team members about their programming and game strategy 
  • Records of flights, tests, test results, and evaluations
  • Project management practices including use of personnel, financial, and time resources
  • Notes and observations from competitions to consider in future plans
  • Descriptions of programming concepts, programming improvements, or significant programming modifications

Note: If the Competition Logbook is written in a language that is not common for the region, it is the team’s responsibility to provide the original language version along with a translated copy, if any Judges fluent in the original language are not available. This should be brought to the EP’s attention as early as possible so they can inform the Judge Advisor.

Competition Logbook Judging Process

Step 1 – Sorting the Logbooks

Judges perform a quick scan of all the Competition Logbooks and divide them into two categories: Developing and Fully Developed.

Developing Competition Logbooks contain little detail, will have few drawings, and will not be a complete documentation. To save Judges’ time, the Competition Logbook Rubric will not be completed for these teams. However, all Competition Logbooks should be retained until the end of judging deliberations.

If it is unclear whether a logbook should be categorized as Developing or Fully Developed, either another Judge can help make that determination, or the logbook should be given the benefit of the doubt and scored using the rubric.

Fully Developed Competition Logbooks contain great detail, and will include detailed drawings, tests and test results, solutions to problems the team encountered, and can be viewed as an organized and record of the team progress. Logbook attributes for Fully Developed logbooks will be scored as Emerging, Proficient, and Expert on the Competition Logbook Rubric.

Step 2 – Completing the Competition Logbook Rubric

Fully Developed Logbooks will be scored and ranked using the Competition Logbook Rubric. They may be initially ranked according to their rubric scores, then be re-ranked according to further qualitative evaluation by Judges.

Judges should read through each logbook as the rubric is scored. There will likely not be enough time to do a full page-by-page close reading, so Judges should form overall impressions and use focused read-throughs for different criteria to generate an accurate score. If time and personnel permits, two or more Judges may wish to independently score each logbook. Finalist logbooks may be scored by an even larger panel of Judges.

Continue to the next section, Guide to Judging: Team Interviews