SIStematic wins state robotics championship

The eighth grade robotics team from Shelton Intermediate School, SIStematic, won the First Lego League state championship for the second year in a row at Shelton High School this past weekend.

An eighth grade robotics team from Shelton Intermediate School won the state robotics championship for the second year in a row and is now preparing for the international championship that will take place in Detroit, Mich., next year.

Despite still riding the high of winning their second state championship in a row, the SIStematic team members said they have plenty of work to do before they compete against other robotics teams from all over the world.

“Every year the level of what you have to bring to the table goes up,” said one of the coaches of the SIStematics, Jim Daxner. “Our fortunate event of going to St. Louis last year to compete at the international level really prepared us for this year.”

SIStematics was the only one of five teams from the city to advance to the next round of competition, but having the chance to interact with one another served as a learning experience for some of the younger players.

Krishiv Patel of the fourth grade team, Lego Leopards, is the younger brother of SIStematics team member Diya Patel. He said that having the chance to train alongside his sister, who already had experience competing at the state and international levels, was very helpful.

“It was nice having her there because we were able to ask someone questions who had competed too,” said Krishiv.

The Lego Leopards may not have advanced, but they earned an award for their project presentation.

Next phase of competition

Coach Daxner said despite having nearly five months to prepare for the next level of competition, it doesn’t seem like much time.

“Internationals are 50 times more competitive,” said Daxner.

“It’s almost as if we’re starting all over,” said SIStematics coach Michele Piccolo, who explained that the team is now tasked with taking its project to the “next level.”

After being assigned the task of having to invent something to address a global issue last year, teams this year have to create something that addresses hydrodynamics, or the manner in which humans find, transport, save, and dispose of water.

SIStematics has chosen to address an issue that people deal with at a local level, removing algae from lakes and ponds.

The algae in ponds get caught in the irrigation filtration system, which takes time to unclog, according to SIStematics team member Diya Patel.

According to Daxner, in order for the team to be prepared for the international competition, it will need to develop a functioning prototype for its project, conduct field testing to collect data for its experiment and further its research of the effects its invention has on algae in ponds or lake water.

In order to test the invention, called the “Irrigation Improver 3530,” the team’s lead driver, Connor Dapp, said they’re relying on a team member’s relative because of the weather’s effect on algae in the winter. Dapp explained that during the winter, algae die until spring because of the water freezing. In order to test their invention, Dapp said, teammate Ria Dalvi’s cousin will be conducting testing in India. The testing has not begun yet.

Setting that bar higher and higher

When you win back-to-back state championships, self-reflection is important, according to the members of the SIStematics.

Team member Katie Daxner said the team’s experience in St. Louis served as a base for this year to build upon.

“If we didn’t go to St. Louis last year I don’t know if we’d be where we are this year,” said Katie.

When entering this season, the SIStematics said, they wanted to make it a priority to always have fun, make everyone feel included, and become more well-rounded teammates.

“If you’re only tasked to do one thing, you think that’s your thing, but as a team we wanted to think that everything is our thing so that, no matter the situation, if someone needed help, any team member would be able to assist each other,” said Piccolo.

Coach Daxner said the team members will really begin to focus on what they need to accomplish for the international level after the new year.