National Engineers Week? Doesn’t sound like much of a cause for celebration. But kids of all ages are going to be celebrating it in Detroit and Jackson this weekend, by oozing through oobleck, making the hair on their head stand on end and gobbling ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.
In other words, the Michigan Technological University Mind Trekkers are headed downstate.
On Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24-25, 2011, Mind Trekkers — a popular traveling science road show produced by Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach — will hit the Science Stage at the Detroit Science Center in recognition of National Engineers Week.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, they will move the high-energy, hands-on science extravaganza to the Westwood Mall in Jackson for the Jackson Area Science and Engineering Festival, a free fun-for-all sponsored by the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation.
Michigan Tech’s partners at the Jackson festival are the Detroit Science Center, the Girl Scouts, the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network, CMS Energy, LearningFair.org, the Jackson Area Math and Science Center, CP Federal Credit Union and Shop Rats — a high-school students’ exhibit that includes catapults that kids can adjust to launch objects over a castle wall and a display of wheelie carts. The FIRST Robotics team and Project Lead The Way from the Jackson Area Schools will also be there.
National Engineers Week is observed each February by engineering and educational institutions, professional organizations, corporations and government agencies. Its purpose is to call attention to the contributions that engineers make to society. It is also a time when engineers try to communicate the importance of learning science, math and technological skills.
That’s the goal of Mind Trekkers’ entertaining science show too.
“We want to reverse the deficit of bright young Americans going into the STEM fields,” Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, said Steve Patchin, director of the Center for Pre-College Outreach.
Since the group formed two years ago, its reach has extended throughout Michigan and beyond, to the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree and the USA Science and Engineering Expo in Washington, D.C.
Michigan Tech student volunteers and staff who manage Mind Trekkers will be at the Detroit Science Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 24 and 25 and at the Westwood Mall in Jackson from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26.