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Local students use LEGOs to solve problems
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Mohana Malapati, Asha Goddu, Megha Goddu, Meghana Malempati, Rathna Malapati, Kedarnath Malapati and Lakshmi Malapati after winning 6th place at the First Lego League robotics competition at Georgia Tech. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Five girls from Forsyth County have taken it upon themselves to solve real world problems like water consumption, solid waste recycling and natural disasters using engendering, natural ingenuity and LEGOs.

Mohana Malapati, Asha Goddu, Megha Goddu, Meghana Malempati and Rathna Malapati are the Forsyth Stars, a First LEGO League robotics team based out of Cumming. The girls are between 9 and 12 years old and go to three different schools in Forsyth County, but that hasn’t stopped them from meeting once a week to attack a problem and work on their robot.

According to Kedarnath Malapati, group mentor and junior at South Forsyth High School, the group was formed in November 2017 and since then has won four different awards at the regional and state levels.  

He said that in January the Forsyth Stars went to the FLL State Championship at Georgia Tech. Their robot placed sixth out of the more than 769 teams that participated statewide. Each year, the participants of First Lego League are challenged to come up with a design dealing with a certain topic. This year’s topic was Hydro Dynamics and the disposal and usage of water.   

The Forsyth Stars’ design for the Hydro Dynamics theme involved taking rainwater and grey water and reusing it for household uses.

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Forsyth LEGO robotics team, the Forsyth Stars, tour a water treatment plant in Cumming to learn more about how waste water is treated and reused. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

“I liked helping build the robot, and I liked making the poster because I could share my creativeness,” said 9-year-old Rathna Malapati, who attends fourth grade at Whitlow Elementary School.

“My favorite part was programming the robot, because we had a lot of fun figuring out what we could make it do to accomplish the missions, and we worked together pretty well on that,” said 12-year-old Mohana Malapati, a seventh grader at Otwell Middle School.

“It’s fun to see what you can make your robot do — like what different ways you can have it complete the mission, rather than only have it do it one way,” said 10-year-old Megha Goddu, a sixth grader at Otwell Middle School.

Kedarnath Malapati said that each of the girls spent nearly 100 hours on their role in developing the robot. In the end, they had a streamlined solution that they presented to Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow. 

“This [gave] them a great place to brainstorm their ideas, and if they mess up its OK,” Kedarnath Malapati said.

“It creates a creative building space they can use to learn in,” he said.