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STEM Event Stirs Up Science — and Ice Cream

And the twain did meet Wednesday at Grand Canyon University‘s STEM Innovation Spotlight, where Nitro Live Icecreamery owner Felicia Vandermolen was busy pouring cream, stirring in berries, then dousing the whole confection with a shower of liquid nitrogen.

Some vigorous stirring and a minute or two later — and with a nitro fog cascading from the bowl — ice cream was up and ready for tasting at the Strategic Educational Alliances event at GCU Arena. It was where about 200 educators and educator-friendly organizations gathered to share ideas, network and advance science, technology, engineering and math as more than just a much buzzed about academic term but as the way to meet the needs of a more STEM-focused world.

Vandermolen didn’t just make ice cream. She also made science — something the ice cream place brings into the classroom.

“We’ve been working with educators on their time off who have been helping us create experiments,” she said.

They’ve developed a curriculum based around seeing liquid nitrogen in action. The experiments are based on Arizona science standards and include such subjects as learning about the different states of matter.

“They (teachers) can choose what they want. We have 10 different modules. … In doing so, they are able to create different ways to have science fun,” Vandermolen said. And perhaps the best part — everyone gets to eat ice cream afterward. It flies in the face of the business’ modus operandi, “Fun+Science = Ice Cream, or (F+S = I).”

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau

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