Late Nights at Loyola was a series of events designed to promote scientific literacy for Nola inner city youth. Students from Anna’s Place NOLA were invited to visit Loyola University during October, December, February, March and April (2016-17). At each event they learned about native Louisiana nightlife or the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), while participating in educational, experiential-learning activities that utilized techniques common in the sciences. They worked with Loyola students, who developed and implemented the appropriate scientific curricula that were aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Loyola students spent countless hours developing the engaging, hands-on activities for the students. The award was allocated by providing supplies for the Late Night at Loyola events and transportation of the Anna’s Place students to and from Loyola.
The themes for each month were:
October – Taking the fright out of Halloween. Loyola students set up stations on spiders (e.g., live tarantulas, preserved spiders, and egg sacs), brains, prisms, and slime. Anna’s students learned the natural history of the typical Halloween critters and proper handling technique of live organisms, the functions of the different areas of the brain, the properties of prisms that create shadows and rainbows, and the polymer composition of slime that makes it both a solid and a liquid.
December – Plants. Loyola students taught brief lessons on photosynthesis, leaf anatomy, microscope techniques, chlorophyll extraction, and cloud composition. The Anna’s Place students collected leaves on campus, learned how to view them using a microscope and how to extract chlorophyll from a leaf using proper lab techniques. At the end of the event, Loyola volunteers gave a brief lesson on cloud composition, and did a demonstration that replicated the formation of clouds by pumping air into a plastic bottle and quickly removing the pump causing a white cloud to form. The Anna’s students also learned about the importance of wearing lab coats and gloves when extracting the chlorophyll since it is an experiment that requires standard personal protective equipment.
February — Chemistry. Loyola students led three different interactive stations to the Anna’s students to learn concepts about chemistry and chemical composition of matter. They created lava lamps using oil, water, and Alka-Seltzer, played with quicksand using corn starch and water, and used liquid nitrogen to shrink balloons and make ice cream.
March – Physics students and faculty demonstrated different natural laws to teach such concepts as force and gravity through designing their own marshmallow catapults, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and mechanics. Students were able to visualize the basic laws and theories of physics through multiple demonstrations and hands on activities.
April – Biology. Borax bouncy balls, biology scavenger hunt, and elephant toothpaste. Loyola students led various stations including a scavenger hunt with various clues to search for the appropriate animal or insect matching the description somewhere in the lab. Another station involved the slime created earlier in the year, but this time we put a spin on it to harden the slime and create our own bouncy balls. And the final station titled “elephant toothpaste” exemplified what happens when an exothermic reaction occurs, how foam is created, and the properties of yeast.
See the photos from these events in the photo gallery.