Rachel Sanders and her students at Global Impact STEM Academy have been conducting outreach events to get students, especially girls and minorities, interested in STEM education. In just two recent weeks, Global Impact students went to four schools and connected with 331 students and 30 teachers.

“These activities give them the opportunity to create items they like—ice cream, lip balm, soap—out of soybeans, which prompts good discussion. Students see actual soybeans up close, produce soy milk, then make soy ice cream using science equipment. They see the science that goes into agriculture,” said Sanders.

The Women in STEM activities feature labs run by female students in professional lab attire, using equipment that a typical middle school classroom would not have, to create a product or prototype. At other events, Global Impact students are the teachers. This helps Sanders assess the knowledge they’ve gained and allows the presenters to work on communication skills. The fun, interactive and safe learning environment gives the younger students confidence in lab skills and knowledge.

A teacher commented, “Great activity to integrate with other curriculum areas to raise awareness about soybeans and soybean products!” Students said, “Your equipment is so new and cool! I loved using graphing calculators to collect temperatures” and “I have never seen a soybean and was surprised to use soymilk to make my own ice cream.”