Battle Champs

Battle Champs
Posted on 01/22/2020
Delta Woods Battle of the Brains Champs

Members of the Delta Woods Middle School team finished fourth overall in the 2019 Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition. Burns and McDonnell awarded more than $155,000 in grant money to the top 20 finalists. More than 800 projects were submitted. In taking fourth place, the DWMS team earned $15,000 for its school for the project “Welcome to DenCITY.” The team from Cordill-Mason Elementary was a top 20 finalist, earning $2,500. CME under the direction of instructor Jennifer Medina, has had a team in the top 20 since the inception of BOTB competition.

The Battle of the Brains has two divisions: elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12). Each team designs a STEM exhibit to potentially display at Kansas City’s Union Station, while focusing on a single topic or main idea.

 DenCITY provided potential visitors a bustling city offering examples of density impacting daily life. Exhibits to explore included the “Holdin’ Weight Bridge,” in which guests walk across foam ice cubes on water to visualize density as a property of water. They can also explore the density of other solids and liquids by adding them to a giant column (or skyscraper) and seeing how the substances separate and float. 

Delta Woods Middle School teacher Annalisa Stonner headed the project and was glad to see her students rewarded for their enthusiasm and effort. “It was amazing. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced anything else like that,” she said. “It was incredible to see their hard work pay off. I know they put a lot of time and effort into this project, and I think getting into the top five validated all that hard work. They’re going to be walking the halls with some pride.”

DWMS student Morgan Kramer said, “The nerves and excitement didn’t really hit me until I sat down. We spent a long time working on our project and put a lot of hard work into it, so it’s cool to see it all worked out.”

Many of the DWMS students were also members of the Cordill-Mason team which took second place in the 2017 competition.

CME’s project this year was “EchoLocation Exploration,” which entails using sound waves to find locations, much like bats use their ears. Project leader and STRETCH teacher Jennifer Medina said Echolocation has spurred many technological developments and discoveries. “Toothed whales, like dolphins, also have the super ability, and even humans have learned to rely on only their ears to locate objects in space. In our project, people could see the science behind sound waves with our Visual Frequency Chamber, Shh window, Doppler Effect game, and wonderous Water Frequency room. They can also experience animal echolocation in action by creating the sounds of a Toothed Whale, sending and receiving calls of a dolphin, and using only their ears to navigate the Bat Echolocation Maze.” 

Stonner summed up the Battle of the Brain experience as exciting and educational, “This experience is incredibly fun. It’s a lot of hard work on the front end, but it’s all worth it when you see the kids mingling with their friends and getting to enjoy all the excitement surrounding them.”