Living wax museum fantastic experience for students
November 13, 2019
If you didn’t attend our iAcademy’s Living Wax Museum recently, you missed a special event indeed. Between J’Drian Lawson’s second and third graders and Melinda Hewitt’s fourth and fifth graders, a sizable collection of historical characters came to life.
You may have encountered the term, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), commonly used these days. This project was a STEAM focus, which includes the Arts as well and is coming to be used more and more. It was a STEAM focus that these two iAcademy teachers brought into focus.
Lawson described it in detail: “Our elementary team began this project at the beginning of October. The students discussed which historical figure they wanted to research. Notes went home to parents describing the project, involving them in students’ rehearsal speeches.”
Students had an extensive list of individuals to choose from; where they were born, what their lives were like, as well as their major accomplishments, and more. A key point is that during this process all students have to do considerable research on a wide array of individuals to learn enough to choose which character they’d like to portray.
Using their Chromebooks to organize their research and generate the materials they would use to create their display boards, students organized their information through the online, collaborative learning environment, Google Classroom. Following the provided rubric to meet the expectations, they then wrote their own speeches and assembled their costumes.
Walking in the door at Lincoln Jackson (where our iAcademy is housed) I saw both main corridors lined with students, either in the midst of presenting their character or eagerly holding out their hands with colored “buttons” on top, to be “activated.” (Students had a brightly colored “button” painted either on the top of their hand or on their display board that one had to “tap” to start their presentation).
Seeing all those students with their wonderful costumes and incredibly bold presentations was quite the experience. Speaking up with enormous confidence, it was evident the amount of work that had gone into those memorized speeches. The students were amazing, able to answer all manner of questions about their historical character. It struck me forcibly that those students “owned” those individuals, and they’d never forget their stories. I certainly learned quite a few new things that day.
As Lawson concluded, “The confidence and knowledge that our students possessed at the end of this project was immeasurable.”
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for Clovis Municipal Schools. She can be reached at: