A science center thrives because of inviting exhibits, but also because it’s valued as a community amenity and tourist attraction. A beneficial cycle begins with repeat attendance and volunteer support, providing financial support that pours back into the center.
The people feed the rejuvenation. At Science City, the Burns & McDonnell Foundation is giving that beneficial process a kick-start — and encouraging kids to love STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at the same time.
Our partnership with Science City centers on Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains, one of the country’s most robust STEM competitions. With this innovative effort, schools throughout the greater Kansas City metropolitan area can earn a piece of the $155,000-plus grant by designing the next great exhibit for Science City.
The benefit is two-fold — promoting STEM initiatives and adding new innovative exhibits. Our efforts reflect our deeply held beliefs:
We’re moving the needle. Since we began in 2011, more than 11,000 students have benefitted from a one-of-a-kind educational experience. The competition has produced four interactive exhibits: Science of Energy, Genetics: Unlock the Code, Every Last Drop and Simple Machines at Play. We’ve also invested in two additional exhibits — Science on a Sphere and the Burns & McDonnell Engineerium. These exhibits represent an investment in the community of more than $6 million.
These additions have made a difference at Science City, boosting attendance by 35 percent and encouraging thousands of visitors each year to explore STEM topics.
“Students aren’t creating a product for a hypothetical environment or ’playing’ at being scientists. They must make a plan for a REAL product that will be right down the street from them should they win.”
Jennifer Thomas, Turner High School