Disneyland Resort and the Orange County Department of Education have launched a program to bring hands-on science lessons to Anaheim elementary schools led by Traveling Scientists from OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors program.
The resort will provide $55,000 to create the initiative that will allow for the Traveling Scientists to visit dozens of public and private schools in Anaheim, leading classroom lessons designed to bring science learning to life and help students across Anaheim engage in interactive science exploration.
At the kickoff event Friday at the Anaheim Elementary School District’s Orange Grove Elementary, nearly 100 fourth-graders cheered and hollered when special guest Mickey Mouse made an appearance.
School officials also performed an experiment for students to show how temperatures affect the volatility of carbonated water, simulating what causes volcanic eruptions.
A main objective of the new partnership is to expand experiences among students that will foster a stronger appreciation of science, according to Stacy Deeble-Reynolds, director of Community and Student Support Services at OCDE.
“The Disneyland Resort’s partnership in education with Inside the Outdoors means that thousands of fourth-grade Anaheim students will get the chance to engage in hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs,” she said.
Through the end of the current school year, Traveling Scientists plan to visit with as many as 5,000 students in fourth-grade classrooms across Anaheim.
“We are delighted that now every fourth-grade student in Anaheim will be able to participate in the Traveling Scientist program, and we appreciate the Disneyland Resort’s generosity, which makes it possible,” said Anaheim Elementary School District Supt. Christopher Downing. “Sometimes when we think of imagination we only think about the arts, but by nature scientists are curious and use their imagination in their exploration of the world.”
Added Carrie Nocella, Disneyland Resort director of external affairs, “The Disneyland Resort is committed to equipping Anaheim students with skills for the future and the Traveling Scientist program will not only introduce fourth-graders to important lessons in STEAM, but will also teach them about the importance of caring for our natural resources.”
Experiments and lessons Traveling Scientists will lead support California’s Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize critical thinking and hands-on science projects in classroom instruction. Examples of lessons include learning about the geology of California through rock formation and volcanic eruptions, and studying how human and natural systems intersect.
“When we are able to introduce students to science early on, it really expands their understanding of the world they live in as well as their imagination,” Downing said.