Lancaster Hybrid Summer of Innovation

Students Natinael Amente (left) and Harmonie Edwards photograph the grass at Miller Elementary School on Wednesday as part of the Lancaster School District’s Hybrid Summer of Innovation program.

LANCASTER —About 300 Lancaster School District students continued their learning this summer via the Hybrid Summer of Innovation with hands-on activities such as making a volcano or learning how to use a camera.

Some students participated in-person at Discovery or Miller elementary schools while others participated remotely from home. Another 70 special education students participated as well.

In the Summer of Travel at Miller Elementary, students crafted volcanoes from clay. They placed baking soda inside the crater and put the whole thing inside a red bowl. They took their creations to the sandbox where an aide put drops of red food coloring inside the volcano.

Each student received a cup of the magic ingredient — vinegar. At their teacher’s direction they poured the vinegar inside of the volcano. The vinegar and the baking soda created a chemical reaction — a gas called carbon dioxide — and the substance foamed up and over the top of the volcano.

“The volcano was fun,” said student Andrew Gomez, who will start third grade at Jack Northop Elementary School next month.

Student Ashley Gamiz, who will start fourth grade at Miller Elementary next month, also had fun with the volcano and with summer school. “We get to learn more about different states and stuff,” she said.

Another group of students practiced a skit they created for AV’s Top Chef 2 to be presented via theater arts. The goal was to share what they learned about the rainbow food groups.

Teacher Joann Smith worked with her in-person students and those participating virtually to explain how to take a good picture.

“Remember, you don’t want the object in the middle,” Smith said.

Some of the students used old digital cameras donated by teachers. One online student held his camera up to the computer’s camera so Smith could check the settings.

Natinael Amente, who will start the fifth grade at Sunnydale Elementary School next month, said he was enjoying summer school.

“I’m going to take three pictures outside of the trees and the flowers,” he said.

“I like photography and I like taking pictures and stuff,”  said student Harmonie Edwards, who will start fifth grade next month at Jack Northrop Elementary.

Incoming fifth-grader Nathanial Chavez got the art class.

“My mom thought she was going to sign me up for computer science because I like computer science too and I like art,” he said.

Samples of his art decorated the safety glass on his desk. His favorite drawing was one of his cellphone.

The District followed COVID-19 safety protocols for the in-person learning. Each class was assigned a color-coded wristband. For example only students and adults with a blue wristband could attend the class with the corresponding color.

Lancaster also offered the I’m Ready Virtual Summer Camp. All camp activities are asynchronous and can be completed at the students’ pace. Students earned prizes by completing online activities to help maintain their language arts and mathematics skills. They recorded their work using a digital bingo card.

Students took a test at the beginning and the program adjusts to their level so it would be individualized. It is the same program students use throughout the school year.

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