Be a part of something amazing.

Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains educational competition operates on a two-year cycle: one for the competition and one for the exhibit build-out. Competitions have been held in 2011, 2013 and 2015 – and the next competition is Fall 2017. To give you an idea of how the competition works, below is the criteria from 2015.

Previous Competition Criteria

Battle of the Brains has two divisions: elementary (kindergarten through 6th grade) and secondary (7th through 12th grade). There is no limit to the number of entries a school may submit. The same teacher may lead multiple teams. Each team should have a maximum of two co-leaders. While there are no defined limits on team size, learning objectives diminish with teams of more than 20 students.

Entries are judged in the following categories. A rubric with more information about the points available for each section is provided in this packet.

  • Creativity and Inspiration (30 points): 800-word maximum
  • Interactive Exhibit Engagement (30 points): 800-word maximum
  • Visual and Written Presentation (15 points)
  • Social Media and Supplemental Materials (10 points): 500-word maximum
  • Constructability (10 points): 400-word maximum
  • Student Involvement (5 points): 300-word maximum

Entrants must:

  • Be full-time K-12 students.
  • Be currently enrolled in and attending a public, private, parochial or home-based school in the following counties:
    • Kansas: Atchison, Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Shawnee and Wyandotte
    • Missouri: Bates, Buchanan, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Platte and Ray

Entries must:

  • Include the entry form information requested on the submission website.
  • Be a maximum of four or fewer single-sided pages, not including the entry form information.
  • Include at least one page with a sketch of the exhibit floor plan, though you may also include other graphics and sketches. (These will be included in the page count.)
  • Include a video, no longer than two minutes, describing the design.
  • Focus on a topic/main idea suitable for presentation outdoors.
  • Address the categories in the Competition Criteria (see above and in rubric) in order.
  • Be blind, with no identifying details anywhere in the body of the entry. School information must be limited to the entry form section.
  • Be in English.
  • Be on letter-sized paper (8.5-by-11 inch) with 1-inch margins.
  • Use a standard font no smaller than 10 points. (Don’t make us bring out our reading glasses!)
  • Be saved and submitted in a PDF that is no larger than 10 MB.
  • Be uploaded to by the identified deadline.

The Burns & McDonnell Foundation reserves its right to modify the rules without materially affecting the terms and conditions hereof. Entrants have the responsibility to check the competition website for any updates to the rules. 

“My students grew exponentially in the realm of STEM awareness, personal dedication and project completion. They learned to collaborate — not just with each other but with scientists and engineers.”
Jennifer Thomas, Turner High School