ENERGY STARS: Science Project Wins Award

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Teachers at one school are being honored for an innovative class project this year. And, they're headed back to class with extra cash to help fund an innovative science project.

All students have their favorite subjects. Indianola 8th Grader Shy Lang says, "Science. It's my favorite subject."

The students at Indianola Middle School are just getting into the swing of a new year. Eighth Grade Science Teacher Cathy Scullen says, "It is exciting, and the kids seem excited too. So, I'm really excited to get going with the different subjects throughout the year."

Scullen is especially excited for a project coming up this spring. She says, "It's called Energy Stars." She and fellow teacher Debra Gage lead two teams of 150 students each.

They team up or work alone on a project of their choosing that deals with energy conservation.  Scullen says, "They do things that are going to be reducing the carbon footprint, so maybe they're going to grow a garden. Maybe they're going to do a trash clean-up, some plant a tree."

Others research wind turbines. Some cook with a solar oven.  They all take their projects into the community. Scullen says, "Then they will go out and influence an audience outside the classroom, whether it's an elementary classroom, speaking in the community somewhere."

The teachers are going back to school with a $2,000 award. They say it will really help with the students' projects this spring. Scullen says, "We got $2,000 through the Unsung Heroes award"

This is the 17th year for ING's Unsung Heroes Award. 1,300 teachers around the country applied. 100 entries won the grant, which helps fund innovative class projects. Chad Tope, President of ING Annuity & Asset Sales at ING US, says, "The Indianola school is the only one in the state of Iowa, which makes us pretty proud, being right here in Des Moines and having our office located in Des Moines."

Indianola Middle School also has a chance to win a $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 grant from ING. Scullen says, "And if we do win the big money, we are looking at putting a solar panel array outside on the school grounds."

The Indianola Middle School teachers should find out if they win one of the larger grants in October.

ING is accepting applications for next year's grants. Click here to apply.