Kansas City STEM Competition Offers Thousands of K-12 Students Unparalleled Classroom Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2013

Public vote to help decide which team will design and construct exhibit for local science museum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Instead of vying to bring home a blue ribbon, the top 20 teams competing in the "Battle of the Brains" are aspiring to walk away with a bigger prize — $50,000 for their schools and the opportunity to design and build the next Science City exhibit alongside local engineers. The top 20 proposals represent the best design ideas out of more than 500 entries submitted for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition and are up for a national public vote through Nov. 14 to determine the grand prize winners. The public is encouraged to show support for the students and STEM programming by voting for their favorite idea.

"Battle of the Brains" is a scholastic competition created by the Burns & McDonnell Foundation that seeks to encourage K-12 students to become inspired by STEM education at an early age. The contest helps foster creative thinking and better equips students for future STEM learning by giving them the opportunity to see firsthand what it is like to work in a STEM profession and incorporating national education standards into the curriculum — the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Involving more than 3,500 students from Kansas City metro area as they compete for grand prizes totaling $155,000 and the opportunity to design a real science center exhibit for the public, the Kansas City-based contest is the most robust STEM competition in the nation.

"Studies show that kids are most open to STEM learning in first through fourth grades, so one of our missions is to capture the imaginations of students at young ages and open their eyes to careers they may not have known existed," said Greg Graves, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City-based architectural, construction and engineering firm. "The ‘Battle of the Brains' offers the opportunity to give students experiential and hands-on learning they wouldn't otherwise get in a traditional classroom setting. We applaud all the educators and students on their entries — the quality of the proposals are phenomenal."

Grand prize winners will be announced on Nov. 20 after a panel of experts from Burns & McDonnell and Science City, along with a public vote, helps select the best proposals in the K-6 and the 7-12 grade divisions. The judges' rankings will account for 70 percent of the final score while the public vote will account for 30 percent. The winner in each division will earn a $50,000 grant to support STEM education; two runners-up in each division will earn $5,000; and 14 honorable mention winners will receive $2,500 each for their schools. One group of students will see their proposal brought to life as an exhibit at Science City.

"It is an honor to again partner with Burns & McDonnell on the ‘Battle of the Brains' to involve students in designing the next exhibit for Science City," said George Guastello, president and CEO, Union Station Kansas City, Inc. "It is beyond inspiring to experience firsthand the ingenuity and passion of the students that participate in this competition. The creativity and innovation behind these proposals is nothing short of brilliant."

The top 20 entries include:

Elementary/K-6

School Proposed Idea
1. Bonner Springs, Edwardsville
and Delaware Ridge Elementary
Down & Dirty - The Science of Urban Farms
2. Briarcliff Elementary Brain-E
3. Cedar Creek Elementary GloZone
4. Cordill Mason Elementary Every Last Drop
5. Crestview Elementary Recycle City
6. Hazel Grove Elementary Healthville
7. Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy One World One Well
8. Leawood Elementary GeneTech
9. Longview Farm Elementary Tour de Forces
10. Valley Park Elementary Listen!

 

Secondary/7-12

School Proposed Idea
1. Bode Middle School H2Oh!
2. Belton High School Freshman Center Maglev Magic
3.

Blue Springs High School

A Journey Inside the Human Body
4. Drexel High School Brain Surge
5. Olathe East Senior High Head to Toe
6. Olathe North High School Tapped Out
7. Pleasant Hill Middle School Robots in Medicine
8.

Rockhurst High School

3-D Printing in Modern Medicine
9. Summit Technology Academy Wright Into the Future
10. Winnetonka High School Aquiforever?

 

"Battle of the Brains" is the brainchild of engineers at Burns & McDonnell and was developed and funded by the Burns & McDonnell Foundation to address the declining number of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Science City at Union Station was selected as the 2013 beneficiary of the program. The Burns & McDonnell Foundation has made it a priority to become a leader in developing, organizing and funding STEM education and training initiatives both locally and nationally. The foundation has invested $4.5 million over the past few years in grant programs that support both STEM education and thriving educational environments like at Science City. The 2013 "Battle of the Brains" represents the second competition hosted in Kansas City.

To vote, visit is www.battleofthebrainskc.com/vote.

About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and history education and entertainment, features a science center, the popular Model Railroad Experience open year round, new planetarium, one of the region's largest-screen movie theaters, live theater, shops, restaurants and home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit unionstation.org for details.

About Burns & McDonnell Foundation
The Burns & McDonnell Foundation is a key component of the firm's longstanding commitment to improve the quality of life through: educational outreach supporting careers in engineering and technology; human services; environmentally responsible practices; and support for the arts and cultural enrichment. In addition Burns & McDonnell encourages and supports volunteer efforts by employee-owners in support of projects and causes that support our communities. Burns & McDonnell provides engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services to clients throughout North America and abroad. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned.


For more information, contact:

Nancy Besa
816-674-4775
besapr@me.com

Julee Koncak
913-219-2415
jkoncak@burnsmcd.com

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