“I was brainstorming one day with a fellow teacher, Lori Pope, and said ‘I’m kind of tired of the rut; I need to think of something else.’ So she mentioned this, and I decided I’d do it.”
As far as she knew, Warden said Stowers had never had a living wax museum before, although the school does stress hands-on learning.
The activity was the capstone of a three-week unit on famous Americans. Faculty chipped in with costumes and posters and the finished result included “buttons” people could press to make the wax figures come to life.
“We’ve scheduled for the whole school to come today, so by the end of the day the students will have probably presented this about 120 times,” Warden said.
For the project, each student had to read a biography on their character, research the person and write and memorize a one- to two-minute speech, summarizing the individual’s life.
Eight-year-old Michael Galvez, who portrayed Albert Einstein, said he learned about Einstein’s theory of relativity during his research.
“It was proven during a solar eclipse in 1919,” said the third-grader. “I thought it was just astonishing. This one is the greatest (project) I’ve done.”
Warden said the project had multiple benefits, since it helped the kids gain confidence sharing what they know with others and helped teach and hopefully inspire the more than 400 students who went through the museum.
“I think it’s a success,” she said. “They’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve enjoyed it, and all the teachers who have come through with their classes have said they enjoyed it. I would do it again.”
Fourth-grader Gracie Wilson said she did a lot of research about Helen Keller before the activity.
“I felt like I really was her today. I knew so much about her,” she said. “I like that even though she was blind and deaf, she overcame her differences and still did everything else that a normal person could. I think she can do even more. She is amazing.”
Gracie, 10, said she loved “letting other people get to enjoy learning and getting to know Helen Keller.”
“It’s kind of like Helen Keller’s actually here and talking about who she is and what she does,” Gracie said.