Be a part of something amazing.

Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains operates on a two-year cycle: one for the educational competition and one for the exhibit build-out. Competitions have been held in 2011, 2013 and 2015 — and now in Fall 2017.

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. (For example, Eloise Educator can partner with Tom Teacher to lead a team.) While there are no defined limits on team size, learning objectives diminish with teams of more than 20 students. Each team must design a STEM exhibit focused around a single topic or main idea of your choice.

Entries are judged in the following categories.

  • Creativity & Inspiration (30 points)
  • Interactive Exhibit Engagement (35 points)
  • Visual & Written Presentation (15 points)
  • Social Media (5 points)
  • Constructability (10 points)
  • Student Involvement (5 points)

Entrants must:

  • Be full-time K-12 students.
  • Be currently enrolled in and attending a public, private, parochial or home-based school in any of 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, saved as a PDF that is no larger than 10 MB. (Don’t include entry form information in this PDF.)
  • 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!)
  • Include at least one drawing or sketch of your exhibit, though we encourage you to include other graphics and sketches. (These will be included in the page count.)
  • Focus on a topic/main idea suitable for the identified indoor exhibit space.
  • Address the categories in the competition criteria in order.
  • Limit school information to the online entry form. Your PDF proposal cannot in any way identify your school.
  • Be in English.
  • Include a video (.mp4, .mov or .flv), no longer than two minutes, describing the design.
  • Be uploaded by 5 p.m. Central Time on Oct. 25.

The Burns & McDonnell Foundation reserves the right to modify the rules without materially affecting the terms and conditions hereof. Entrants are responsible for checking the competition website after Sept. 1, 2017 for any updates to the rules.

“For once I was able to find a truly project-based learning experience. This competition is oriented for student-centered, cooperative action. It was fantastic to watch a small spark grow.”

Lee Winslow, Belton High School