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West Madison presents wax museum

Fifth-grader Benjamin Arn portrayed Benjamin Franklin for the Living Wax Museum at West Madison Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED
Fifth-grader Benjamin Arn portrayed Benjamin Franklin for the Living Wax Museum at West Madison Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – History leapt off textbook pages into the personas of fifth-graders at West Madison Elementary School for their Living Wax Museum.

The museum was presented in conjunction with the PTA meeting on Nov. 9, Whitney Lawrence said. Lawrence teaches fifth-graders and coaches the Math Team.

The museum was an example of “project-based learning to provide a learning experience in history, writing, speaking and the research process, all while allowing students to display individual creativity through creating a poster and posing in costume as their character,” Lawrence said.

During the process, students were introduced to Google docs and instructed in the basics of writing and sharing documents. The fifth-graders chose a character from a field of 30-plus historical figures and then wrote an essay, a speech both written and spoken, along with a costume.

Fifth-grader Cadence Mooring selected Queen Elizabeth I as her character. From America’s frontier years, Williams Hu portrayed Daniel Boone, while Mya Saleh represented Pocahontas.

Founding fathers of the United States were popular choices. Yasseen Kambal chose George Washington as his character. Benjamin Arn studied about Benjamin Franklin. Tyler Butler and Fisher Beams worked to present George Washington and Patrick Henry.

From more contemporary figures, Shelby Ball decided on Annie Oakley. Bailey Green looked the part of Amelia Earhart. Mikala Calhoun symbolized Maya Angelou.

Visitors to the ‘museum’ pushed a ‘button’ near each student that “brought them to life. Once finished with the speech, the student would assume the statue-like pose as in a museum,” Lawrence said.

During their two-week assignment, “students really took pride and ownership in their work and were so excited to get to present them to their friends and family,” Lawrence said. “Even those students who are normally more quiet and reserved soared as they performed as their character.”

Lawrence hopes that the wax museum becomes an annual event for at West Madison.

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