History Comes to Life

IMG_2973Logan Free, a fifth grader at Clyde Elementary School, stood motionless reading a Farmer’s Almanac until a fellow student bent over and pressed an activation button on the floor.

“Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. My name’s Benjamin Banneker,” Free said as he began to explain Banneker’s role in the American Revolutionary War.

Clyde Elementary Librarian Megean Wantz organized the Living Wax Museum featuring all 80 of the school’s fifth grade students. Each student researched a historical figure from the American Revolutionary War, created a period-appropriate outfit, painted a background, and then recited an overview of their character during the Living Wax Museum on April 15.

“This project was a great way to introduce our students to the Big6 Research Model, which shows them how to research a topic properly,” Wantz explained. “I’m so proud of all the hard work the students put into developing their characters.”

The Living Wax Museum combined the fifth grade’s American Revolution curriculum with students’ lesson on how to research in the library. Everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Phillis Wheatley was represented.

“The Living Wax Museum was a great opportunity for students to learn how to conduct independent research and take ownership of a project,” Clyde Elementary Fifth-grade Teacher Alison Lipham said. “We had 100 percent participation among our students. They were so excited to come in the gym today and get into character.”

Noah Lance portrayed Benjamin Franklin. He created his iconic hairstyle using a mop.

“I really liked learning about Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolutionary Way,” Lance said. “It was fun coming up with my outfit too.”

Students have been studying the American Revolution since January. Their studies revealed that certain times and conditions often provide the opportunity for individuals to exhibit leadership that may change the course of history. Students learned that individual leaders, like the ones they portrayed, shaped the political, economic, and social development of the United States.

“I think participating in the Living Wax Museum is something our students will remember for the rest of their lives,” Wantz said. “I hope they realize that they can be just as big of an influence on the world as these historical figures were.”