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Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry from a successful experiment with his first telephone
Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry from a successful experiment with his first telephone

An Engineering Notebook Documents your Work

Not only do you use an engineering notebook to organize and document your work, it is also a place to reflect on activities and projects. When working in a team, each team member will maintain their own journal to help with collaboration.

Your engineering notebook should have the following:

  1. An entry for each day or session that you worked on the solution

  2. Entries that are chronological, with each entry dated

  3. Clear, neat, and concise writing and organization

  4. Labels so that a reader understands all of your notes and how they fit into your iterative design process

An entry might include:

  1. Brainstorming ideas

  2. Sketches or pictures of prototypes

  3. Pseudocode and flowcharts for planning

  4. Any worked calculations or algorithms used

  5. Answers to guiding questions

  6. Notes about observations and/or conducted tests

  7. Notes about and reflections on your different iterations

Extend Your Learning icon Extend Your Learning

To connect this activity to a historical instance, ask your students to research Leonardo da Vinci. Known as a famous painter, da Vinci was also a self-taught engineer, creating approximately 30 engineering notebooks, including the renowned Codex Leicester.
To relate this activity to inventions, ask students to research the process of obtaining a patent as well as the role of the engineering notebook in corroborating innovative work