Inspired by kids, built by Burns & McDonnell.
It’s Kansas City’s most exciting K-12 STEM competition — Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains. Area schools can earn a grant for STEM education by dreaming up an exhibit concept for Science City — and one student team sees its idea come to life in a big way! It’s a fantastic, no-cost experience for students and teachers — thinking big, collaborating and having fun. So far, more than 30,000 students in 55 school districts have benefited from this immersive educational opportunity.
Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains has two divisions: elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12). Each team must design a STEM exhibit focused around a single topic or main idea.
Interactive Exhibit Engagement
Exhibit Floor Plan
Constructability Statement and Construction Materials Estimate
Team Choice Video
Burns & McDonnell employee-owners and Science City staff evaluate each team’s proposal based on the competition rubric. Only 10 entries from each division are elevated to a top 20. The top 5 entries are revealed at the awards ceremony.
The Burns & McDonnell Foundation awards $155,000-plus in grants. The grand prize winner also has the opportunity to work with Burns & McDonnell architects, engineers, construction managers, graphic designers and researchers to bring its ideas to life at Science City.
In 2011, our leaders created a gigantic idea: a competition to inspire kids to think big about STEM in support of Science City. The concept was truly unique in the academic space — students would compete to design a science center concept, which would come to life as a million-dollar exhibit at Science City. Since then, Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains has grown to become one of the most robust K-12 STEM competitions in the United States. Learn more about the journey.