April 2020 News

Teaching During a Pandemic – a Century Ago by Mr. John Marsh

Monday, April 27, 2020

Frances and Charles Marsh stand side by side in the center in front of their business in 1935 in Muncie.

A recent article written by Social Studies instructor Mr. John Marsh, “Teaching During a Pandemic – a Century Ago,” has been published on the home page of History News Network. HNN is perhaps the biggest professional history journal online with 1.5 million page views per month.

Read the article on the History News Network website.

A different version of the article with more Muncie-specific information and a photo of Mr. Marsh’s grandparents’ business was published a few weeks ago in the Muncie Journal, and was picked up by Google News and Newsbreak, also reaching a national audience.

Read the Muncie Journal version of the article.


Academy Instructors Receive Bell Education Grants

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The following Academy instructors received a Robert P. Bell Education grant from the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County Inc.:

  • Tom Arnold – $238.04 (Election of 1896 Posters)
  • John Marsh – $450 (Build an Escape Room)
  • Stephanie Nagelkirk – $356.29 (Harlem Renaissance Party)
  • Evan Ward – $108 (Ancient & Medieval Medicine Science Fair)

Each of these instructors has been awarded a similar grant in the past, and we are proud of their continued efforts in securing funding for innovative projects for our students.


John Marsh Named Recipient of Inaugural Robert P. Bell Creative Teaching Award

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dr. Barton, Mr. Marsh, Dr. Smith
L to R: Dr. Vickie Barton, Executive Director of the Indiana Academy; John Marsh, recipient of the Robert P. Bell Creative Teaching Award; Dr. Jeff Smith, Director of Academic Affairs

The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. has announced that John Marsh has been awarded the inaugural Robert P. Bell Creative Teaching Award to recognize his innovation in the classroom.

Marsh, a history teacher at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, was nominated by Indiana Academy’s Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jeff Smith, for his execution of three recent Robert P. Bell Education Grants.

This past May, for example, Marsh led his students to recreate three important historical caves along with art to establish an exhibit called “the Cave of Time.” The Bell Grant was used to build the set and create the artifacts within the caves. As part of the project, students wrote scripts to be used to lead tours for several hundred students and Muncie community members.

Cave construction
Mr. Marsh oversees a group of students painting part of the Cave of Time

“These projects are major building events and require the close coordination of numerous students and adults,” wrote Smith in his nomination. “The projects also serve as significant education events for other children (and adults). I think you would be very hard pressed to come up with a teacher who has had more impact on not only his students, but also on the much larger community for Muncie and Delaware County.”

Smith also explained that beyond the projects associated with his Bell Grants, Marsh’s World Regions class is very popular and always has maximum enrollment. In this class, students identify, research, and build a model of a religious artifact. The artifacts are put on display along with background information on the artifact and associated religion. Indiana Academy students and staff take time to view these projects extending the lessons from the classroom to the entire school community.

Marsh was selected for the Robert P. Bell Creative Teaching Award because he has demonstrated a commitment to education through creative and innovative projects in his classroom. This was illustrated by his well-developed projects funded through the Robert P. Bell Education Grants and his desire to extend the subject matter learned by students to the community at-large.

Tour group
A group of students tour the Cave of Time

Marsh was surprised with the award in front of students, administrators, and family at the Indiana Academy on September 11.

The Robert P. Bell Creative Teaching award was established to compliment the Robert P. Bell Education Grants program and honor teachers who have gone above and beyond to use creativity and innovation to enhance learning by their students. The annual program rewards, recognizes, and encourages extraordinary educators who have applied for, received, and executed a Robert P. Bell Grant from The Community Foundation in their classroom.

To commemorate the award, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County awarded a $1,000 grant to Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities to be used by John Marsh in his classroom. For more information about the Robert P. Bell Creative Teaching Award, please visit The Community Foundation’s website at cfmdin.org.

By Kallie Sulanke, Community Engagement Officer, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County

Tour group
A view of the innermost chamber of the Cave of Time

Explore the “Cave of Time” at the Indiana Academy

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Academy students transform a classroom into a prehistoric cave for May Term
Academy students transform a classroom into a prehistoric cave for May Term.

Students at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities are currently involved in May Term, a unique two-week program that happens at the conclusion of every spring semester.

May Term is a graduation requirement for Academy students and provides them with opportunities to take in-depth courses on special subjects, travel, and participate in internships. Each year brings new courses and experiences. This year there are over 20 different courses including Forensic Science and Japanese Manga as well as travel opportunities ranging from Australia to Yellowstone National Park, to name just two trips.

One of this year’s May Term projects, the “Cave of Time” is led by John Marsh, Instructor of History, and explores the wonders of four of the world’s most famous caves. Visitors to the exhibit will encounter the prehistoric artwork found in Chauvet and Lascaux caves in France, Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands) in Argentina, and the exquisite Buddhist artwork of China’s Dunhuang Caves along the Silk Road.

The “Cave of Time” was constructed by 16 students, who will serve as tour guides. During the tours, the student guides will share the meaning and the stories behind the amazing works of art as visitors take a museum-quality, flashlight journey through winding passages with rough walls, dripping water, and a partially excavated burial site.

The exhibit is free and open to the public from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23 with no reservations in Room 209 of Burris Laboratory School. Tours run every 15 minutes.

Financial support is provided by a Robert P. Bell Education Grant through the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. In-kind support is provided by Gill Bros. Furniture and the Back to School Teachers Store.

Located on the picturesque campus of Ball State University, the Indiana Academy is a nationally ranked two-year public high school for high ability juniors and seniors coming from anywhere in the state.


Indiana Academy Instructors Awarded Robert P. Bell Education Grants

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Robert P. Bell Education Grants are awarded to teachers and counselors for innovative ideas, programs, or classroom projects. Administered by the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, four Indiana Academy faculty members, Michael Mayfield, John Marsh, Jennifer Robinson, and Les McSparrin were awarded a Bell Grant.

Students in the Human Anatomy and Physiology course taught by Michael Mayfield, instructor of life sciences, are studying the human cardiovascular system. As part of this study they will be dissecting a preserved sheep heart and illustrating the external circulation and internal structures. They will use computerized probeware to produce a three lead ECG (electrocardiogram) of their own heart. To help in mastering the material, they will transfer their drawings onto the front of a t-shirt along with a tracing of their ECG on the back. From this activity, Mayfield hopes the students will better understand the physical structures of the human heart and the flow of blood.

John Marsh, instructor of history, is another recipient of the Bell Grant. Marsh created a mock election process that expanded beyond the standard classroom teaching on the nomination process, electoral college, candidates, and issues. Students trained in the roles of the various poll workers, and then the polls were open during the nearly identical period as the official polls in Indiana on Election Day. Students followed the complete procedure when they came to vote. Through hands-on participation and responsibilities, the end result for students was a broad understanding of the election laws and procedures regarding this most central of citizenship rights.

French Instructor, Jennifer Robinson, instructor of French, had a variety of things happening during National French Week (November 4-10) and the grant assisted with and Arts & Crafts event during that week. For that event students focused on the hand-painted pottery traditions in the Brittany region of France. Their pottery pieces were decorated using permanent markers, and they created personalized signatures following the example of the true Quimper artisans. Finally, to extend the reach of this project beyond the walls of the Academy, each student made one pottery item for themselves and a second to offer to someone in the community. Each item includes a student-produced card explaining the Quimper tradition, an explanation of the significance of the chosen design, a brief biography of the student artisan, and some facts about the French language.

Students in biochemistry are embarking on a 5-7 week course with Les McSparrin, instructor of chemistry, to explore a real-world laboratory project that is problem based. The students will be isolating the DHFR protein from transformed E. coli colonies. What makes this a “real-world” project is that the students will be using the same procedures and apparatuses that are currently in use in biotechnology labs across the United States. Student won’t just be learning about the function of the protein itself, but they also will be learning techniques that will carry over to college and/or the workplace. Since the field of biochemistry and biotechnology is growing at such a rapid pace, students will have a considerable advantage over other students who don’t have this skill set upon graduation. He wishes to enhance in-class discussions of DHFR and other protein folding with hands-on experiences.