Sparta — At a local First Lego League Tournament on November 19, robotics teams shared their ideas and constructed robots for this year’s robotics challenge. The challenge consists of building and programming a robot that will succeed in many tasks on a playing a field and finding a solution to a real world problem designated for the competition. This year’s “Hydrodynamics” theme has all FLL robotics teams researching how they can solve challenges that exist in the human water cycle.Pope John Middle School (PJMS) has a robotics team that has taken on the challenge. After successfully competing at the local level, the PJMS Sea Lions, have qualified to compete at the NNJ State Championship on December 9th in Mt Olive, NJ.The PJMS Sea Lions met and shared ideas with professionals from Culligan and the Wallkill Watershed Group about the usage and collection of potable drinking water. With the high focus this year on people around the world not having potable water due to storms and other natural disasters, the students were vested in coming up with a way to bring drinkable water to those in need. Instead of focusing on short term solutions, such as giving out bottled water, the team wanted to devise something that could collect and filtrate water to create a source of continuous potable water.The Sea Lions designed a water collection purification system that is easy to transport, affordable, and easy to set up, so that it can be acquired by people that have lost access to potable water. The water is collected through a mesh covered funnel, which prevents contaminants and debris from entering the collection container. The water collected is treated with chlorine to kill viruses and bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. Using a hand pump, the water is dispensed through a charcoal filter that removes the chlorine and other contaminants to provide drinkable water. Although the device is still in the design stage, the team is excited to continue to work with professionals to see the potential for having it be constructed and used.