Union Station and Science City Power Up Student- Inspired Exhibit

The Science of Energy Exhibit featuring Unplugged Debuts March 8

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Union Station and Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City, today introduces to the public its newest interactive and educational exhibit – The Science of Energy featuring Unplugged. Students from Olathe North High School, winners of the 2011 Battle of the Brains educational competition, will see their ideas come to life with the expansive exhibit that encourages guests to explore energy and their relationship to it. The exhibit is sure to be a hotspot of activity in the science center. The Science of Energy featuring Unplugged is one result of a $1.25 million Burns & McDonnell Foundation grant for Science City. Over the past five years the Burns & McDonnell Foundation has contributed $3.5 million to Science City to open additional exhibits, including Science On a Sphere and the Burns & McDonnell Engineerium. The grant is part of the foundation’s focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives.

“The Science of Energy is more than just a new exhibit for Science City. It’s a product of local students working on a real-world project driven by STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles.” said Greg Graves, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “These key elements will drive the future of our business, our community and our country.” Visitors will actively examine their own human energy and understand what it means to be unplugged. Through interactive discovery, they’ll earn a better understanding of where our energy comes from, with an emphasis on renewable sources like wind and solar. They’ll learn foundational basics in a dynamic format and explore the past and future of humankind’s impact on energy resources. They’ll also gain a global perspective that provides valuable insight into the world’s relationship with energy, now and in the future.
“To be a part of this process, to witness the creativity and development of this amazing exhibit, has been a pleasure,” said Bob Regnier, Union Station Chairman of the Board.. “It is an honor to have partnered with Burns & McDonnell on this project, and it is beyond inspiring to experience firsthand the ingenuity and passion of the students that participated in the Battle of the Brains.”

“We are confident this is the best energy exhibit in the country. It sets the new standard for Kansas City’s science center thanks to the vision and funding of the Burns & McDonnell Foundation. Visitors will leave the science center having experienced STEM education in a fun, interactive manner that will inspire them to further explore their natural curiosities,” says George Guastello, Union Station President & CEO. The students whose ideas inspired the effort realize they’ve been a part of a rare opportunity. “Our class designed an exhibit in Kansas City’s science center that children and families will visit for years to come. Who gets the chance to do that? Being a part of this has opened my mind up to so much, and it’s a pretty great thing to have on my resume,” said Morgann Adams, an Olathe North senior. The exhibit includes a power wheel, bicycle generators, a hand crank generator,
computer kiosks and a giant interactive digital wall. It also features a solar and wind impact table, and displays of wind turbines and solar panels. In addition to Burns &
McDonnell, Milbank Manufacturing was a supporting partner of this exhibition. 

The public can experience The Science of Energy inside of Science City starting today. Science City is located inside of Union Station and is open Tuesdays-Thursdays, 9:30
AM-4 PM, Fridays and Saturdays, 9:30 AM-5 PM and Sundays, 11 AM-5 PM. Special Spring Break hours and activities will be offered daily March 11-April 1. Details and
tickets are available at unionstation.org

About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and
history education and entertainment, features a science center, the popular Model Railroad Experience open year round, new planetarium, one of the region’s largest
screen movie theaters, live theater, shops, restaurants and home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit unionstation.org for details. 

About Burns & McDonnell
Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a 100 percent employee-owned, full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services firm.
Burns & McDonnell is currently the 23rd largest A/E/C firm in the Engineering News- Record Top 500 ranking. With the multidisciplinary experience of more than 3,700 professionals in more than 30 regional, national and international offices, Burns & McDonnell plans, designs, permits, constructs and manages facilities worldwide with one mission in mind — to make our clients successful. For more information about Burns & McDonnell, visit www.burnsmcd.com.

Milbank statement
Milbank, a Kansas City-based electrical manufacturer, builds solutions that move power for the residential, commercial, industrial, utility and transportation sectors. Its expertise
includes electrical engineering, renewable energy and energy management. Milbank joined the Unplugged design team to lend its expertise on the renewable energy front.

THE SCIENCE OF ENERGY explores energy and our relationship to it. Visitors will actively examine their own human energy and understand what it means to be unplugged. Through interactive discovery, they’ll earn a better understanding of where our energy comes from, with an emphasis on renewable sources like wind and solar. They’ll learn foundational basics in a dynamic format and explore the past and future of humankind’s impact on energy resources. They’ll also gain a global perspective that provides valuable insight into the world’s relationship with energy, now and in the future.

America is built on ingenuity and inspiration, supported by creativity and critical thinking. To maintain this tradition, investing in STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics education is crucial. That’s why the Burns & McDonnell Foundation partnered with Science City in 2011 to create the Battle of the Brains, an academic competition in which local schools could earn grant money by designing the next great exhibit for Science City. The Battle of the Brains drew 560 entries, representing 2,500 students from 128 schools in 35 Greater Kansas City area districts. Students at Richardson Elementary in Lee’s Summit earned the top prize in the elementary division. A team from Olathe North High School earned the top prize in the Secondary division with the idea “Unplugged,” and the ultimate reward of seeing their exhibit concept constructed in Science City. These students worked with Burns & McDonnell to develop what has become The Science of Energy exhibit.

The Power Wheel lets visitors harness their own human energy to generate electricity. Step onto the giant wheel and get walking to light up an “Unplugged” sign, while a digital display tracks speed, distance, calories burned and watts of energy generated. The Bicycle Generators demonstrate how the body is an energy-generating machine. Visitors can jump on a stationary bicycle and pedal away, transferring the energy from food into motion. That motion, in turn, generates electricity that powers up small electronics relevant to a visitor’s life. The Electric Hand Crank Generator offers insight into the machines that turn energy into electricity. Visitors turn the crank to power up lights and a fan, getting an inside look at a generator that uses conductive wires spinning through a magnetic field. At the Wind and Solar Impact Table, visitors learn more about wind and solar power and its role in our energy mix. By cranking up the wind to activate turbines, adjusting sunlight levels and changing the angle on solar panels, visitors can impact the energy generation of a model city. The Turbine Display tells more about wind as an energy source, from its use by our ancestors to its practical applications today. A digital display offers interesting content while a massive wind turbine blade display offers a real-world perspective. The Solar Panel Display highlights the potential of the sun to help meet our energy needs. Visitors will get an up-close view of a solar panel, which is like those used on homes, businesses and even street signs all over the world to harness the sun's energy. At the Energy Spectrum Wall, visitors get a straightforward but comprehensive look at where we get our energy, from non-renewable fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas to renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro and biomass. The Imagine Energy Digital Wall is a giant, interactive touch screen that offers a world of information about energy—history, science, global perspective, future, careers and opportunities. Visitors can easily navigate tabs that offer information, images and video within a dynamic and vibrant framework.

  • The Timeline offers a historical look at humankind’s relationship with energy, beginning with the control of fire and continuing through today’s exploration of renewable energy sources.
  • The Science is a foundational presence for the entire exhibition, offering information on core terminology and landmark discoveries.
  • Global View uses an interactive map to offer a comprehensive perspective on energy, instantly identifying countries that are power players in energy production and consumption.
  • The Future offers a glimpse at technologies that may shape tomorrow’s energy world and a fuller understanding of why this research is so vital.

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