Charlton Heights second-grade students in Mrs. Brooks’ class brought their month-long research project to life at the 15th annual Historical Wax Museum.
During the month of February—Black History Month—Brooks introduced famous historical figures to her students through biographies and classroom discussions to help students learn what made these people famous. Students were then asked to select a person they wanted to research.
In addition to honing their research and reading skills, the students had to be creative and write a biography poem using their person’s characteristic traits. They also participated in a Compare & Contrast discussions where students compared their own lives to the lives of the famous people they studied. In doing all this, the learned how to use Google Slides to create a cover page and time line slides for their visual presentation. Lastly, each student had to write a brief script about their character (including challenges and a Wow! fact) that they had to memorize for an oral presentation--aka the "Living Wax Museum."
Brooks explained that she takes the study of Black History Month and incorporates it into just about every academic subject. “This project and the depth of learning that accompanies it embody the ideology of common core by allowing students to dig deep into one topic but in many subject areas—something we’ve been doing at Burnt Hills for a long time.”
After students were done researching and writing about their characters, they had to become their characters. Brooks had the kids memorize their 1- to 2-minute oral biography, dress up like their character, and give their oral presentation to the entire class.
Finally the students were ready. They had their biography boards and props ready for the visual presentation, they were dressed in clothing that represented their historical figures, and they had memorized their oral presentations. The entire school and parents were invited to the Historical Wax Museum. Now all that was left was for someone to literally “push their buttons”.
Using bottle caps, the students made "play" buttons that visitors to the museum had to push in order to bring a character to life through student presentations.