Find answers to commonly asked questions.

  • How should our team allocate our time? A good rule is to prioritize efforts in relation to the point totals provided on the rubric. For example, if one section accounts for 10 percent of the total score, your students probably shouldn’t be spending 90 percent of their time on it. Remember, the judges will be scoring directly against that rubric!
  • Do we have to choose just one of the build-out spaces? No, you may choose just one build-out space or combine one or more.
  • Any good methods or places to find material costs for our ideas? The judges emphasize effort and attention to detail. Encourage your students to come to a reasonable estimate, as wildly underestimating or overestimating cost is a common speedbump. Start with a web search to see if an exhibit element is commercially available. (Look to the screw slide element in Simple Machines at Play as an example.) If the element must be built to suit, you can’t go wrong with consulting a big-box home improvement website.
  • Do we have to choose just one of the build-out spaces? No, you may choose just one build-out space or combine one or more.
  • Do we have to create a social media account to fulfill the social media criteria? You DO NOT need to post anything on social media or create an account to fulfill this requirement. You DO need to show examples of what you would post on social media to encourage people to visit your exhibit, and to communicate the STEM topics your exhibit teaches. Two or more strong examples (total, not for each social media outlet) will help you earn the most points. You may mock up posts with pictures or post on social media and use a screenshot in the proposal. But it isn’t necessary to do so. Well-written text-only posts are sufficient.
  • I want to schedule a field trip. Who do I call? We’ve reached the limit on free visits for Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains participants. However, Science City always welcomes group visits. Visit the admissions page on the Science City website to inquire. The site also provides a great overview of the visitor experience, should you want to take a “virtual” tour of current exhibits.
  • Is there a theme for this exhibit? There is no exhibit theme; encourage your students to explore any idea within the STEM world.
  • I’ve been hearing a lot about a party. Am I invited? Absolutely — we love to celebrate our registered team leaders and co-leaders. This year, we’ll be holding an event to celebrate the successful submission of entries the day after the upload deadline. Save the date for October 26 from 5-7 p.m. at Science City and watch your inbox.
  • Our school is kindergarten through 12th grade. Can we submit entries in both divisions? Yes, you may. There is no limit to the number of entries a school may submit.
  • I’d like to lead a team with three of my educator colleagues. Possible? Nope. While the same teacher may lead multiple teams, each team should have a maximum of two co-leaders.
  • How many students can be on each team? While there are no defined limits on team size, learning objectives diminish with teams of more than 20 students.
  • My students don’t have access to or know how to use digital imaging software. Will our proposal be judged down? Absolutely not. The visuals in your entry should support your big idea and demonstrate effort. But it makes no difference if those visuals are executed with crayons, colored pencils or a computer!
  • Can a single student participate on more than one team? While we appreciate that you have a STEM utility player, each student’s name can only be associated with one entry.


“BOTB has helped make my students aware of all the career possibilities within STEM. They can be great at math, art, leading a group or videography and still contribute meaningfully to an engineering and design project.”

Laura Frees, Harrisonville Schools