Member News

Teachers awarded $3,076 for creative and innovative classroom projects

Friday, December 1, 2017

Nine local teachers will receive $3,076 in Robert P. Bell Education Grants from The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. across the county, 1,000s of students benefit from Bell Education Grants each year.

Awards of up to $450 are available through the Bell Grants program. Funded projects are creative or innovative classroom projects designed to stimulate learning in students. All Delaware County teachers are invited to apply during any of the four grant cycles. 

Awards for the second cycle of this school year include:

Ben Buehler and Barbara Miller, Yorktown High School, were awarded $272 for a project that will allow high schoolers to discover and solve micro-level problems around their school through the design and development of real solutions. After identifying a real-world problem in their school, students will develop an idea for a solution, use 3D software to design a solution, and print a prototype to test, tweak and improve upon.

Bethany Clegg, Burris Laboratory School, was awarded $246 to expand a kindergarten classroom unit on dinosaurs to their physical education class. Over the course of eight lessons, students will use the skills they are learning through physical education to play games and complete obstacle courses connected to dinosaurs. Books and music about dinosaurs will be used to lead dinosaur movement and dinosaur dancing.     

Laura Kingsley, Kaylee Vannatta and Katherine Atkinson, Grissom Elementary, were awarded $450 to provide sensory exploration for elementary school students that improve fine and gross motor skills, build cooperative play, reinforce math concepts, generalize academic concepts, and increases student communication.

Les McSparrin, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, was awarded $450 to provide high school juniors and senior AP Chemistry and Biochemistry students hands-on lessons about the interaction of water molecules and ionic substances, a process that occurs at the submicroscopic level. Through this project students will gain an understanding of properties of water molecules that will include the creation of 3-D models of snowflakes, which will serve both education and decorative purposes in and around the classroom.

John Marsh, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, was awarded $450 for high school juniors and seniors to participate in an in-depth study of Paleolithic cave sites. After thoroughly researching famous prehistoric and religious caves around the world, students will construct an exhibit and script an interpretive program of the caves. The project will culminate with exhibit tours to 200-300 third- through twelfth-graders from two different schools.

Candace Smithson, Cowan Jr./Sr. High School, and Magee Shepler, Michelle Rumfelt, Dianne Love, and Amy Meekin, Cowan Elementary School, were awarded $219 for a project that partners junior and senior science students with first and second graders to teach principles of gravity, force, and motion using different types of experimental helicopters. 

Nancy Swickard, West View Elementary, was awarded $450 for elementary art students to explore Mexican history, culture, and folk art. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade will create age-appropriate, three-dimensional art including clay masks, papier-mâché sculptures, gold foil ornaments, and paper gauze sculptures.

Becky Watters, Eaton Elementary School, was awarded $124 to reinforce math and science skills with fourth grade students through a building block game that combines math skills with structural engineering concepts such as loads, tension, compression, torsion and gravity.

Evan Ward, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, was awarded $273 to allow high school juniors and seniors to experience Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival in honor of the god Saturnus. After an opportunity to research, Latin students will create their own sigillaria, an earthenware figurine commonly given on Saturnalia, and host a school-wide Saturnalia celebration including playing tali (a Roman game), wearing pillei (a hat), and creating holiday epigrams in the style of ancient Roman authors.

Megan Wright, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, was awarded $142 for high school juniors and seniors to practice experimental design to create an optimal gummy bear launching system. Using a handful of simple supplies students will create a launcher ramp. Then they will design an experiment, run trials, record data, and present an interpretation of their results.

In 2016, The Community Foundation established the Robert P. Bell Teacher Grants Fund to permanently endow the program to ensure that teachers have access to funds to help engage their students in meaningful ways for years to come. Individuals can contribute to the new endowment fund to memorialize a special teacher, honor a retiring teacher or teacher celebrating a work anniversary, or to simply show their support for K-12 education in Delaware County. Donations may be made online at or mailed to The Community Foundation at PO Box 807, Muncie, IN 47308.

The next deadline for Bell Grants is February 1, 2018. For more information about Bell Grant applications and the Robert P. Bell Teacher Grants Fund, contact Carly Acree-King, program officer at  Information is also available at

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