To provide an exciting summer camp experience, Lancaster ISD has partnered with United Way’s Heal, Play, Learn program to bring STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Camp to Lancaster students. The STEAM Camp is a four-week summer program for third- through eighth-grade students that provides STEAM, social-emotional learning, fine arts, sports, and wellness experiences.
Students left the camp each day feeling inspired and excited about learning.
“I was so excited about going to STEAM Camp every day,” said Jada Grace, a rising 5th-grader at West Main Elementary. “My favorite thing about camp was the robotics lessons because we could build robots while figuring out how they work.”
Erica Butler, Lancaster ISD STEAM Camp Coordinator, says Lancaster students are bursting with ideas and energy and ready to learn new things. She expressed why she believes students were more thrilled than ever about this year’s camp.
“Lancaster students love hands-on activities, they love robotics, and they love to build things. So this was a great opportunity for them to stay engaged during the summer while doing something fun.”
Lancaster ISD received an Educate Texas grant, which allowed camp coordinators to include enrichment vendors for the first time.
“In the past, we’ve hosted STEM camps for the students geared toward engineering and technology,” said Miesha Medford, STEAM Camp Principal. “During previous camps, it was more about providing teachers a curriculum to implement with the students. This year, vendors provided their expertise for each lesson. In addition, our teachers assisted with the lessons and even participated with the students.”
Teachers were also encouraged to borrow ideas from the vendors and adapt them for future lesson plans during the upcoming school year.
“Twelve vendors participated in the STEAM camp this summer,” said Butler. “With so many vendors, we helped the students hone in on what they liked to do. They were able to explore a variety of opportunities and pathways.”
Enrichment vendors included Seeds 2 Stem, 2 Inspire Peace, Studio Bella, Essence Dance, Kiddo Fit, Challenge Island, Junior Players, and Litehouse Wellness. Students participated in fun and educational activities such as building and launching rockets, robotics and coding, using chemistry to make slime, and painting. They also practiced yoga and dance and even developed their acting skills during theater sessions.
Medford says one of her favorite activities this year was the hip-hop class.
“Students are always watching dance videos on TikTok. With the hip-hop class, they could see and understand dance in a controlled atmosphere. They learned how to put choreography together and how dance can be structured and fun.”
Rising 6th-grade student, Leon Mata, shared the same sentiments.
“I liked learning the dance moves in the hip-hop class,” said Mata. “It was challenging at first to keep up with the steps, but every day it got easier. It was one of my favorite activities.”
Mata says he also enjoyed the robotics and chemistry sessions, where he learned how to make lotion, lip balm, and a bath bomb.
More than 300 students enrolled in the Lancaster ISD STEAM Camp. Butler says the camp is a great learning experience for third through eighth-grade students.
“Students are curious. They want to get involved in things that interest them and see how they can turn that into a career,” said Butler. “There are STEAM opportunities available to students, but many do not utilize them because they don’t know they exist. STEAM camp is an awesome way for students to get exposed to those opportunities so they can begin crafting their way into different curriculum pathways offered by the district.”
Lancaster ISD STEAM Camp coordinators say they have already started planning for next summer’s camp.