Union Station opens impressive exhibits; one inspired by Olathe North students

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Science City at Union Station has two new exhibits to boast about, inspired by students passionate about science, engineering, technology and math.

"Every Last Drop" shows the properties of water and was inspired by an entry from Olathe North High School into the "Battle of the Brains" competition in which 193 schools and about 3,500 students participated.

Burns & McDonnell, the well-known engineering, architecture, and consulting firm,  contributed $1 million to build the exhibits.

It took 10 months to design and build these two new attractions.

Students from Leawood Elementary designed an exhibit about genetics and DNA.

And students from Olathe North designed an exhibit about water.

Both schools worked with engineering firm Burns and McDonnell to make their ideas come to life.

The lead architect says it's all about inspiring young kids to get excited about going into careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

"All the research they did and really owning these topics and becoming very passionate about them is one of the really exciting things about taking their ideas and making them real here," Greg Goss, lead architect, said.

"It's just so interesting to see what their ideas could make if they go into maybe an engineering career or any career in any field, it can help them see what could happen," Isabel Horosz, Olathe North junior said.

In 2013, Olathe North High School students competed and won the Battle of the Brains, a partnership between the Burns & McDonnell Foundation and Union Station's Science City. Leawood Elementary School won the elementary division. Both schools competed against 3,500 students from nearly 200 area schools to win the K-12 STEM education competition. Tasked with creating a comprehensive exhibit proposal, grand-prize winners LES and ONHS set themselves apart from the competition with their designs' creativity, interactive engagement, constructability and budget.

Each school received $50,000 to use toward STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, but the excitement didn't end there. With the help of Burns & McDonnell, the two winning teams were given the unique opportunity to witness their ideas transforming from concepts into a one-of-a-kind exhibits to be featured at Science City.

The Olathe North High School exhibit immerses visitors in all aspects of our relationship with water, from the interaction between water and life to how we use water in our daily lives to the impending danger of water scarcity.