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The Walt Disney Company to collaborate with NSTA on the national launch of Disney’s Planet Challenge

The Walt Disney Company is proud to be working with the National Science Teachers Association on the national rollout of Disney’s Planet Challenge. Dr. Francis Eberle, NSTA’s executive director, discusses his organization’s involvement with the program.

How does your collaboration with Disney’s Planet Challenge support the mission of NSTA?

This program helps NSTA promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all by providing teachers with a great tool to teach science and motivate students to think critically and act responsibly towards the environment.

What will be NSTA’s role in this program?

NSTA will provide planning, implementation and administration services for the national launch of Disney’s Planet Challenge. Additionally, NSTA will assist in promoting involvement in the program by conducting outreach to its members and the science education community.

Why are programs like this important?

Disney’s Planet Challenge instills an appreciation for important environmental issues and perspectives and will help students master critical-thinking skills that will prepare them to evaluate issues and make informed decisions regarding stewardship of the planet.

Speak about the importance of getting kids interested in science and introducing them to the scientific method.

To sustain our nation’s global competitiveness, students must be scientifically literate. Scientific inquiry and the scientific method reflect how scientists come to understand the natural world, and it is at the heart of how students learn. Understanding science content is significantly enhanced when ideas are anchored to inquiry- and project-based learning experiences like Disney’s Planet Challenge.

How can Disney help achieve those goals?

Kids everywhere get excited simply by hearing the name Disney. Teachers are always looking for classroom activities, programs and resources that will turn their students on to science. Disney’s Planet Challenge will make environmental science come alive for thousands of students nationwide, thanks to Disney and the sense of imagination it brings to the classroom.

Why is it valuable to establish collaboration like this, between the private sector and education?

To enable the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace, collaboration among all stakeholders in science education - which includes the private sector and scientists, engineers, business leaders, educators, teachers, administrators, parents and higher education representatives - s crucial.

How can programs like Disney’s Planet Challenge contribute to the professional development of teachers?

The program allows teachers to provide opportunities for interaction in the classroom, to help students carry out investigations, and to talk and write about their observations. These are all important elements of effective science teaching.