Fourth-graders spend a day at LSU lab

Photo by Leslie Capo -- St. Peter Claver student Andrew Murray, left, mixes squished strawberries with dishwashing liquid and salt to break open the strawberries' cells. From left, Ke'Shawn Butler, Blake Braud, Dashay Hooker and Brandon Williams watch.
Photo by Leslie Capo -- St. Peter Claver student Andrew Murray, left, mixes squished strawberries with dishwashing liquid and salt to break open the strawberries' cells. From left, Ke'Shawn Butler, Blake Braud, Dashay Hooker and Brandon Williams watch.

About 150 fourth-graders from three New Orleans elementary schools spent a morning learning about genetics, physiology, health and more by doing experiments at the research labs at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

During the school year, LSUHSC faculty and students teach the youngsters science in their own classrooms. At the end of the year, the students visit LSU Health Sciences Center for the opportunity to use the sophisticated equipment and facilities.

Students conducted science experiments and learned about genetics, physiology, anatomy and wound healing. They also learned how caffeine, alcohol and cigarette smoke affect the body.

The program is intended to help fourth-graders master science concepts while improving test scores and letting them meet role models in the sciences.

Volunteer instructors include LSU Health Science Center students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty. They taught at Benjamin Banneker, St. Peter Claver and Langston Hughes Academy Charter School twice a week.

“We plan to partner with additional New Orleans schools in the near future,” said LSUHSC’s Dr. Fern Tsien, a member of the faculty of the Department of Genetics who directs the LSUHSC/New Orleans Science Partnership Program.

After science experiments, students were given books and comic books to take home, teachers received awards and there was a final luncheon.