Michigan Tech News

Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers Share the Science of Basketball at NBA All-Star 2014


By Jennifer Donovan


Last Modified 2:36 PM, February 12, 2014

Children discover that they can jam a skewer into the top or bottom of a balloon, where the rubber is thicker, without popping it, while the same skewer punched through the thinner, central part of the balloon where the tension is greater will burst it.

February 11, 2014—

Basketball fans in New Orleans for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game will also have the chance to learn about the science of basketball, thanks to the Michigan Technological University Mind Trekkers. Fans of all ages can join the Mind Trekkers for hands-on activities that illustrate the science of basketball at the NBA All-Star Jam Session, February 13-16.  The Jam Session includes four days of community activities leading up to the All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 16. 

Mind Trekkers is a hands-on science education show featuring volunteer students and staff from Michigan Tech. They perform interactive, high-energy science and engineering activities at science festivals and expos nationwide.

The NBA All-Star Jam Session will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13-16.    

Cody Kangas, associate director of Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach and five Michigan Tech students will present a number of engaging exhibits showcasing a variety of scientific principles found throughout the game of basketball.  The activities will include topics such as biomechanics, biofeedback, acceleration due to gravity and the parabolic flight path. “

“There is so much science involved in the sport of basketball, from anaerobic performance to shoe design,” says Kangas. “We get to show them how cool this game is through a different lens, the lens of science.” 

“We’re all about igniting the passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math),” says Steve Patchin, director of the Center for Pre-College Outreach at Michigan Tech.   “We show kids what looks like magic, and then we explain the science behind the magic.” 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries around the world. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our beautiful campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.