Inspiring Kids and Communities

DISNEY'S PLANET CHALLENGE

overview

Disney´ s Planet Challenge (DPC), a project-based learning environmental competition, expanded to schools across the United States in 2009. Disney´ s Planet Challenge offers budding scientists the chance to use their imagination and creativity to help the planet while giving educators a new and exciting way to motivate students. The program is built around an educationally-sound curriculum that meets national and state guideline requirements.

In this first year of nationwide expansion, more than 2,000 classrooms enrolled with teams representing all 50 states. More than 250 projects were submitted for the final judging. The winning entry, "Operation: Save the Quail," came from a 6th grade class in Mediapolis, Iowa. The students preserved the local quail population through a community awareness campaign and the restoration of 18 acres of prairie habitat. Disney flew the entire class to Disneyland Resort in May 2010 for an award ceremony and celebration. Other notable 2010 DPC projects included students in a Utah 4th grade classroom who proposed and rallied behind an anti-idling resolution that passed in the state legislature, Arizona 5th graders who adopted thousands of acres of land to develop a state land preserve, and Massachusetts 6th graders who installed a wind turbine on a school campus.

Disney´ s Planet Challenge collaborates with a number of government departments and non-government organizations to meet the needs of teachers and students. Disney works closely with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the WestEd: K12 Alliance to develop educational curriculum and adjudicate the competition, as well as with environmental organizations to assist in developing judging criteria and disseminating information about DPC. Visit the Stakeholder Engagement section to learn more about our work with NSTA and WestEd.

In 2009, Disney also began an ongoing relationship with the online charity DonorsChoose.org, an organization dedicated to helping raise funds for classroom projects across the country. As part of this relationship, Disney contributed $100,000 to support DPC projects through the charity's "Double Your Impact" program. This collaboration fully funded more than 300 projects in 2009-2010, transforming donations from more than 430 individuals into a tangible benefit for more than 52,000 students.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, we are building on DPC's success by expanding the program to middle schools, increasing the DonorsChoose.org program to $200,000, and working with local communities to raise visibility and best meet local needs. DPC is also helping to increase awareness and create a sustaining community of learners through a new "Imagine Your Planet" video series, following students on their mission to create a better planet.

Visit Disney´ s Planet Challenge online to learn more about the program.

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