It isn’t every day that Pocahontas, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordon, and King Tutankhaman all appear under one roof, but it happened recently at Rehoboth’s “Wax Museum.”
Actually, there wasn’t really much wax, but there were 60 students from the 4th & 5th grade who assumed their favorite historical figures and froze in time until they were touched. Then they would come to life and give a 1-2 minute explanation of who they were or what they did. As they spoke, some would stare into space and relate what they felt made their character special; others would suddenly swing their gun and square off with the person who touched them, scaring them and getting their alert attention.
The “Wax Museum” idea came about through student teacher Cheryl Bogertman and new-to-Rehoboth teacher Kate Poortenga. After the students had finished a reading project on biographies, they each chose whom to research and decided what facts of their chosen historical figure to include in their scripts. Then they wrote out their scripts, memorize them and got their costumes together for the afternoon when they would “come alive”.
Parents, friends and teachers gathered at 2 pm on October 23 in the large central room at Rehoboth Elementary School and took a tour of “the museum” where the celebrities were frozen and ready to be touched and come to life.
When Ms. Poortenga was asked what she thought was the most important part of the projects, she said, “Seeing the kids blossom into this. (Seeing) all the different individuals showing up so there are three Abraham Lincolns and they’re all doing something a little different.” She was impressed how the students took responsibility and developed their character.
There were so many learning skills wrapped up in this one project: reading and picking out important facts, writing a concise script, memorizing the script, being able to speak up and talk to strangers and finally working on their costumes, often with their parents, all while developing pride in a job well done.
Another learning group was the parents. As they interviewed the various historical figures, some of whom were likely new to them, little did they realize that they were the ones who were indeed back in the classroom again!