Turlington Elementary (TES) fifth-grade students brought history to life in the school’s annual Wax Museum. For the project, students researched and took on the identities of current and historical figures. Sandra Smith, TES Teacher of the Year, suggested the idea of creating the museum five years ago and it quickly became a school favorite. Younger students get to visit the Wax Museum and then look forward to being able to participate when they are in fifth grade.
“It is a great way for the students to learn how to research in a fun way that interests them,” Smith said.
In preparation for the museum, students are given two weeks in class to choose a person of interest and research them. Choice empowers students to be in charge of their own learning. Participants gather information, write a biography with citations, and write an autobiographical speech that is used during the event.
On the day of the Wax Museum, students display self-made informative posters, dress as their subject, and pose as wax figures. All grade levels and families are invited to attend. As guests walk through the museum, they push “start” buttons to make the “wax figures” come to life and give their prepared speeches.
“I hope students learn to love research and discover that reading can lead them to know more about topics and people they are interested in,” Smith said.