I’m really looking forward to seeing Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new feature film “Moana,” a story about an adventurous teenager who, with help from demigod Maui, sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and save her people. Because most of the story takes place in and around the ocean, you can be sure Moana will encounter some memorable animals along the way.
Disney has a long history of featuring animals in films to inspire a real connection to animals and the magic of nature. Since 2010, our Disneynature education team has built on that tradition by developing Educator’s Guides with lesson plans and background information that help students explore concepts in physics, astronomy, biology, literature and conservation. The guide for Moana is available now, and you can also download guides for films such as Disneynature African Cats, Wings of Life, Chimpanzee, Bears, Monkey Kingdom and the upcoming 2017 release Born In China. There are even guides for The Jungle Book and Finding Dory.
Academic, conservation and environmental education experts develop lessons for these guides and align them to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core. The guides provide teachers with a collection of STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) materials that can be used to promote nature exploration and discovery.
Research shows that outdoor experiences, such as those found in the Educator’s Guides, increase children’s health, happiness and academic success. Applying lesson plans that increase the time spent outdoors in nature helps foster concern and care about the planet throughout a child’s lifetime.
To further provide students with conservation stories, the Disneynature education team partners with the Disney Conservation Fund to showcase how individuals and organizations can help reverse the decline of species. By learning more about the animals featured in each guide and spending time outdoors through interactive lessons, students can become empowered to create positive changes for wildlife in their school, community and world.
All Educator’s Guides are available to download for free at www.nature.disney.com/educators-guides. “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters Nov. 23.