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Fox 4 helps Burns and McDonnell surprise local elementary school with news that they’re a finalist in Battle of the Brains

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Metro schools received a huge surprise Thursday morning. Judges from Burns and McDonnell are rolled up to tell students and teachers they are finalists in the annual Battle of the Brains S.T.E.M. Competition.

In the video player above, Fox 4 tagged along as the crew surprised the Grandview School District.

Battle of the Brains awards ceremony takes place on Nov. 30  at 10:30 a.m. at Union Station. Each team finalist is guaranteed to win a piece of $155,000 in grant money. The grand prize-winning team wins the largest grant at $50,000, along with the opportunity to have the students’ submission transformed into a $1 million permanent exhibit at Science City.

This year, participation hit a record level:

  • 820 proposals (60 percent increase from the last competition)
  • 7,000 students (30 percent increase from the last competition)
  • 250 schools
  • 55 school districts

The public is invited to review each of the 20 finalist exhibit ideas and vote for their favorite online from Nov. 17-24 by going to The public vote counts for 30 percent of the final selection.