By Renee Larr
The Zionsville Education Foundation recently awarded more than $35,000 in fall classroom grants to Zionsville Community Schools. ZEF works to further facilitate education with new and innovative ideas. Students and teachers are encouraged to approach ZEF when they see a need for additional funds to create new ways to learn.
One grant was awarded as a result of Zionsville Community High School student Katherine Hamori noticing a need while studying soil samples last summer as she researched organic plant health and crop growth.
“This grant is an interesting combination of things,” ZEF Executive Director Tracy Phillips said. “At the time, they were conducting the testing in an uncontrolled environment because we didn’t have a greenhouse. They said their data would be somewhat flawed because they couldn’t control the environment.”
Hamori made the need known to two teachers at ZCHS who directed her to ZEF.
“Katie actually wrote this grant along with Adelpha Twyman, extended experiences coordinator for ZCHS,” Phillips said. “This is the first grant they’ve received from ZEF. Katie herself has a lot of ownership because she discovered this need.”
The money from the grant will go toward purchasing a small greenhouse that will be housed within the science courtyard at the school. Students can conduct scientific experiments inside the controlled environment without hindering test results.
“The lovely thing about it is not only will it benefit Katie in her research, but it will also help all of our life sciences, AP biology, AP chemistry, environmental sciences and genetics classes,” Phillips said. “This is a very broad reaching grant.”
ZEF’s largest fundraiser, Barn Bash, will be held Nov. 5. For more, visit zionsvilleeducationfoundation.org.
Fall 2016 Classroom Grants
Growing 365 with Tower Garden Technology ($3,348.25)
Kara Benson (Boone Meadow Elementary)
All kindergarten through fourth grade students will be growing produce aeroponically during the school year. As they grow their own food, they will learn a variety of 21st century skills, acquire new knowledge, and develop a taste for healthy food and healthy living.
Intervention Is the Key to Success ($2,986.60)
Amanda Rush (Boone Meadow Elementary)
This grant will be used to purchase the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention Green Syste, which will provide teachers in grades kindergarten through second, as well as literacy and special education teachers, with small-group supplementary intervention materials to bring struggling readers and writers to grade-level competency.
Harmony Director ($3,547)
Jim Crismore (Zionsville West Middle School) and Ashley Etzhorn (Zionsville Middle School)
The Harmony Director combines piano/metronome ability, tuning/pitch demonstration and transposition keys. The tuning/pitch function allows the director to develop ear training for students with pure vs. equal temperament on chords within the music. This software and hardware will align the middle school orchestra curriculum with that of the high school.
ZEF Innovation Lab ($2,368)
Cathy Sutton (Zionsville West Middle School)
A makerspace is a place where individuals gather to learn through creating, tinkering and inventing using various tools and materials. This project will enable students and teachers to move into more intense-driven, design-thinking experiences developing an innovator mindset.
Save the Sea Birds ($1,300)
Emily Zucker (Union Elementary)
This problem-based engineering learning project is set in the context of the Gulf oil spill and uses the design process, scientific inquiry and the science of energy. Students need to create transportation that ensures no more oil spills will occur. Clean solar power, energy, forces and motion converge to save the sea birds.
Moving to Learn ($5,400)
Deb Torrance (Stonegate), Garrett Stephens (Boone Meadow), Caroline McIntire (Eagle), Angie Fritz (Union) and Laurie Wanser (Pleasant View). All elementary schools.
FitStep Pro Pedometers will allow students to track their steps and activity level throughout the day in an effort to achieve 60 minutes with at least 30 minutes designated as moderate to vigorous physical activity. This project will require students to set goals, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions and adjust daily behaviors.
Tower Gardens ($3,353,55)
Ryan LaPlante (Stonegate Elementary)
Zionsville Community Schools recognizes the importance of nutrition and its influence in establishing lifelong healthy habits. The Tower Gardens will enable each grade level to participate in the growing of vegetables, graphing produce, investigating alternative methods of farming as well as collaboration, critical thinking and research.
ZCHS Greenhouse ($5,295)
Adelpha Twyman (Zionsville Community High School)
A need was discovered when ZCHS senior Katherine Hamori investigated organic plant health and crop growth. Her experiment was hampered by an uncontrolled environmental situation, jeopardizing the validity of results and exposing a greater need for all AP biology, AP chemistry and environmental sciences and genetics classes. Securing a greenhouse at ZCHS will allow students to conduct botanical scientific experiments in a controlled environment.
Bone Clones in Anthropology ($2,994.65)
Amanda Harmon (Zionsville Community High School)
Students in ZCHS anthropology classes will participate in hands-on archaeological dig simulations and investigate replica fossil remains. Anthropology is a new class at ZCHS with 180 students. The stone tools and skull replicas will allow students to participate in fieldwork exercises and sharpen their research and critical thinking skills.
Production Junction: Where Creativity and Technology Meet ($4,924.37)
Liz Overberg (Zionsville Community High School)
This grant provides innovative updates to the ZCHS Media Center production lab, including a new digital recording studio, a green screen video recording station, a 3D printer, maker equipment and dozens of software applications that allow students to learn, create, innovate, experiment and problem-solve.
Total Grants Awarded: $35,517.42
*Source: Zionsville Education Foundation