Mark Bills Middle School teacher winner of One Class at a Time grant

By Marc Strauss

January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 9:23 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- A teacher at Mark Bills Middle School has mastered the art of teaching many subjects in the same class and her students love it.

Mary Ruff teaches art and history at Mark Bills Middle School. The students in her class are also learning other subjects by building their own kites.

"It will encompass science, they'll talk about motion and flight. Math for all of the dimensions in making the kite," Ruff said. "And history, we'll talk about the history going all the way back to the Chinese who came up with the first kites."

The Kite project is part of the school's International Baccalaureate program. Ruff says it the program was created by American diplomats whose children travel with them abroad and teaches students how to problem solve.

However, making almost 250 kites requires a lot of supplies and that costs money.

In order to help support the project, Mary Ruff was selected as the recepient of the $1000 One Class at a Time grant from CEFCU and HOI 19 News.

"Every child in the school, 240 kids, will each be making a life-size kite and so with all of the material involved this will be perfect," Ruff said.

This isn't the first time Mary has engaged her students on multiple levels.

"The students are just finishing a unit on the west and westward expansion," said Mark Bills Principal Laura Rodgers. "She had the students design wagons and she also had them create hands on items that were characteristic of the west."