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Pictured, from left, are Vianca Venugopalan, Finn Chatterton, Apurva Kapale and Deena Mangalaraj.
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Local Lego League Junior Team Wins Poster Award at World Expo

May 3, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – The local FIRST Lego League Junior Team of children in kindergarten through third grade won a poster award at the FIRST World Festival Expo in Detroit, MI, April 24-27.

The 4-H Macomb Bitty Bots is a four-member team made up of 5- to 8-year-old Macomb youth. They are managed by three WIU faculty members, Interim Physics Department Chair Kishor Kapale, Physical Sciences Technical Associate Aparna Kapale and Chemistry Instructor Shu-Hui (Kay) Tsai.

The students won a poster award in the "Discover and Show" category for their work on the moon base they showcased at the exposition.

Kishor said the world expo was a tremendous experience for the team and for the team members' elder siblings. The club members built a Lego model for their Moon-base, and built a small motorized rover that can be controlled from an iPad. Over a four-month period, the new team learned about its new challenge space, the Moon and the challenges of human survival there.

"It was an action-packed adventure and a fun-filled experience all at once," he said. "The team members got to see and appreciate the work of 59 other teams that participated in the World Expo. They gave a wonderful performance in front of the judges and answered all the questions about their design of the moon-base. The note from the judges says that they liked the 'Moon Money' idea of our team. All the hard-work they put in these last few months on remembering their presentation pieces paid off and it was a great accomplishment."

Aparna Kapale reiterated that the students' hard work paid off in their performance at the expo.

"Our emphasis was to do research on the moon and in this process kids have learned a lot," she said. "Our team has great core values. We are on the right track; it is just a beginning, and we can achieve a lot with this team."

Tsai added that the poster award was a reflection on the cooperative teamwork among the students.

"This event was an eye-opening experience for both the children and the coaches, for we gained a firsthand glimpse at what the FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Expo represents, and how the children eagerly look forward to preparing for next season," she said.

For more about the competition, visit

For additional information about the Lego League, visit For more information about 4-H robotics competitions, visit

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