Tonganoxie Middle School students named champs in ‘Battle of the Brains’ competition

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Young ideas are coming to life at Science City at Union Station.

The Burns and McDonnell “Battle of the Brains” competition wrapped up, and this year’s winners walked away with an increased interest in STEM.

“I was just really happy. I just walked onto stage. It was all kind of a blur. Pictures were taken. My face hurt from smiling a lot. It was really just amazing,” Tonganoxie Middle School student Ella Pruitt said.

Pruitt and other classmates at Tonganoxie Middle School took home the big prize, including an opportunity to transform their big idea into the next $1 million permanent exhibit at Science City and a $50,000 check funding STEM education at the school.

“Our project, called Step Right Up, was basically Carnival Science, different carnival games, skee-ball, just different games you can do and the science behind them and how you can win them,” Tonganoxie student Jameson Breitzman said.

This year, the competition hosted a whopping 840 submissions, a record 7,000 student participants and 270 schools. Nineteen others teams also received various grants to support STEM education at schools.

This is the Fifth Burns and Mcdonnell ‘Battle of the Brains’ competition and the second time a Tonganoxie school has placed in the competition. Tonganoxie High School placed fourth in 2017.

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