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Mill Creek third-graders animate history with ‘wax’ museum

After their wax museum presentations, Mill Creek third-graders recited the Gettysburg Address and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "One Nation." (CONTRIBUTED)
After their wax museum presentations, Mill Creek third-graders recited the Gettysburg Address and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “One Nation.” (CONTRIBUTED)
Third-grader Lindsey Tucker portrayed Maggie Lena Walker in Mill Creek's wax museum. Walker was the first African-American Woman to open a bank. (CONTRIBUTED)
Third-grader Lindsey Tucker portrayed Maggie Lena Walker in Mill Creek’s wax museum. Walker was the first African-American Woman to open a bank. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – George Washington, Condoleezza Rice and Dr. Seuss informed visitors about their lives and times at Mill Creek Elementary School on Feb. 17.

For their ‘wax museum,’ Mill Creek’s 120 third-graders researched and portrayed an American hero of their choice.

“Students not only researched American presidents and African-Americans (but) dressed and actually became their American hero through first-person narratives,” third-grade teacher Sharon Santoro said.

The museum coincided with President’s Day and Black History Month.

Mill Creek’s six third-grade teachers “felt the museum was a worthwhile experience for everyone,” Santoro said. “It truly inspired our students to see how you can reach for your dreams and help others on the way as the best way to become famous.”

Third-grade teachers are Jill Bledsoe, Hayley Davidson, Katie Machado, Kescha Moore, Rebecca Wilson and Santoro.

For research, the third-graders used iPads in class, nonfiction books, the school library and online sources. With research complete, each student created a paper body resembling their hero and then attached their written report. They dressed in period clothing like their historical figure.

Museum visitors pushed a button, which activated the student to summarize the hero’s life in first person. “This was a wonderful way to celebrate our American heritage and history, past and present,” Santoro said.

Third-graders realized that people besides millionaire athletes and actors can be heroes. “A hero is someone who, in spite of impossible odds, succeeds in creating something that changes peoples’ lives for the good,” Santoro said.

The Mill Creek students also portrayed Shirley Temple Black, Bill Gates, George Washington Carver, President Barrack Obama, Amelia Earhart and Rosa Parks.

Third-grader Alex Butler chose Dr. Seuss because he “knew it would be easy to find information. He shares a birthday with my dad.” Sarah Spickard portrayed Karen Horney to learn more about this pioneer in psychoanalysis.

“I chose Maria Zakrewska because she opened the first hospital for women and children and the first school for nurses,” third-grader Samantha Rhodes said.

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