Ideas Unlimited Awards

For years teachers have been exchanging classroom and teaching ideas. This is what keeps the agricultural education programs alive and teachers enthusiastic. The NAAE Ideas Unlimited Award recognizes teachers for developing and sharing innovative ideas with their colleges nationwide.

Each recipient received a plaque and a cash award to attend the annual conference in Las Vegas. Delmar Thomson Learning sponsored this award.

Region I
Steven Sipes
Casa Grande High School
Casa Grande, Arizona
Region IV
Jay Davis
Ridgewood High School
West Lafayette, Ohio
Region II
John Jones
Fouke High School
Fouke, Arkansas
Region V
Dr. Frank Flanders
Department of Education
University of Georgia
Region III
Ed Mueller
Garretson High School
Garretson, South Dakota
Region VI
Rick Martineau
Alvirne High School
Dover, New Hampshire

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Region I
The Region I winner was Steven Sipes from Casa Grande High School in Casa Grande, Arizona.

As the welding industry changes from using angle iron and channel iron to square tubing, specialists are finding it difficult to bend square tubing to retain uniformity and strength. Experiencing this difficulty in his shop, Steven Sipes decided to take matters into his own hands. He created a square tubing bender. This bender is economical and can create a factory-style bend without collapsing the sidewalls of the tubing. All that is needed is steel pipe, a ¼" plate, round stock, square tubing, and a flat iron. With his simple assembly instructions, bending square tubing has become a cinch!

For more information about this innovative idea contact Steven Sipes at Casa Grade High School at 520.836.8500 or by email at

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Region II
The Region II winner was John Jones from Fouke High School in Fouke, Arkansas.

One of the most common lines in agricultural education is ... "Don't recreate the wheel. Take ideas and expand on them. Change them to fit your needs." Keeping this idea in mind, John Jones came up with a way to network all of the agricultural educators in the country. How? Just visit his website. He has posted a page with over 400 lesson plans from 17 states. This includes lessons from college students, agriculture teachers, and student teachers. This idea hit home with the ag ed professors at Texas A&M University, who require students in the Ag Methods class to prepare a lesson and e-mail it to John to be posted on the website.

For more information about this innovative idea contact John Jones at Fouke High School at 870.653.7835 or by email at

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Region III
The Region III winner was Ed Mueller from Garretson High School in Garretson, South Dakota.

One of the more difficult subjects to teach in agricultural education is the difference and importance of phenotypes and genotypes ... until now. Ed Mueller has developed a unique teaching tool for this subject. It is styrofoam lambs. These lambs are made with an "egg" shaped ball for the head with a piece of dowel for the neck, along with different colored balls for the face color and styrofoam blocks for the body and legs. The students use this realia as a learning tool. They define the characteristics of the lambs by flipping a coin. Once the lambs' genetics are determined, they mate with one another. The end goal is to develop the ultimate lamb.

For more information about this innovative idea contact Ed Mueller at Garretson Public School at 605.594.3452 or by email at

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Region IV
The Region IV winner was Jay Davis from Ridgewood High School in West Lafayette, Ohio.

As agriculture is becoming more prominent in urban areas, it is becoming more difficult for students to determine their supervised agriculture experience projects due to the lack of agricultural resources. After pondering how to fix this problem, Jay Davis came up with a procedure to help students develop the skills for determining a solid SAE project. The answer is simple: all you need are M & M's. Jay proposes that you teach a lesson on the components of the scientific method. The activity that he uses to do this requires the students to estimate, then determine how many M & M's are in each package and how many of each color there are. He follows with his students step by step so that they understand the scientific method. Next, the students are required to find a SAE project using the scientific method. Once implemented he has students come up with some amazing ideas, such as, "How much trash is our school sending to landfills?"

For more information about this innovative idea contact Jay Davis at Ridgewood High School at 740.545.6876 or by email at

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Region V
The Region V winner was Dr. Frank Flanders from the Department of Education at the University of Georgia. One of the most tedious tasks in agricultural education is trying to remember the technical terms associated with plants and animals. Most students learn these terms by creating flash cards. Thanks to Dr. Flanders, we have a new tool to use. It is AgLib. This is a computer-based game that improves the students' knowledge of agricultural terms and makes learning vocabulary fun. This program has 1,000 agricultural terms and allows teachers to insert their own. This benefits the classes in two ways. First, the students are given the chance to give the definition as a group of 3-4 members. Secondly, the teacher reads the definitions aloud and the students choose which definition is correct. If the students guess correctly, they move ahead on the game board. The first one to the finish line wins. What an easy way to teach your students the definition of Ergate!

For more information about this innovative idea contact Frank Flanders at Department of Education at the University of Georgia by phone, 706.542.9043 or by email,

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Region VI
The Region VI winner was Rick Martineau from Alvirne High School in Dover, New Hampshire.

Rick Martineau is looking at the future - not the near future, but the future in 12 years. He came up with a plan for first graders to start fundraising for their future senior class. His idea: Christmas Trees! Rick, his FFA chapter, and 362 first graders, for the first time, planted Christmas trees for Arbor Day. Each first grader planted their own, with the help of the FFA members. These trees will be ready for harvest when the young student is a senior in high school. The estimated harvest capital will be over $8,000. This money will be split with the FFA chapter and that year's senior class. The FFA will do the maintenance, create a computer-assisted design, which maps out which tree belongs to which student, and publicize the event with TV and newspaper stories. The only role the first graders have to play is planting their tree and selling it when they are seniors. This is a terrific way for both parties to have a constant fundraiser.

For more information about this innovative idea contact Rick Martineau at Alvirne High School at 603.886.1237.

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