Kuemper wax museum brings characters to life
April 30, 2014
Kennedy Schreck tells about Susan B. Anthony’s campaign for women’s right to vote at Kuemper Catholic Grade School fifth-graders’ wax museum.
Visitors to Kuemper Catholic High School cafeteria last Wednesday afternoon were greeted by Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc -
while she was being burned at the stake, no less.
Nearby were Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln, Albert Einstein and former Los Angeles Dodgers pitching great Sandy Koufax.
They were some of the dozens of characters who participated in the second year of a wax museum presented by Kuemper Catholic Grade School fifth-grade students taught by Marilyn Barta and Mary Ann Brincks, culminating a language-arts biography unit.
For the wax museum every student:
- Read about a favorite character from today or yesteryear
- Filled out numerous questions on the character's life.
- Created a display booth highlighting the character's life.
- Dressed in costume portraying the character and gave a brief oral presentation when wax-museum visitors pressed an activate button at each booth.
Students showed great diversity of interest, selecting characters from history, science, business, sports, business, religion and other areas.
Fifth-grade teacher Barta said she was pleased with the big turnout of visitors to the museum, noting that attendance was even bigger than last years.
She commented on the activity, "It teaches (students) organization, research skills, explores their creativity and improves their public-speaking skills. It also shows the kids that non-fiction can be just as interesting and exciting to read as fiction. Reading a biography brings to life people in this world who have made a difference one way or another. The students read about them, write about them, create a display about them, then 'become' them in the wax museum. They love the idea of dressing up and presenting what they have learned to friends, family and the community.
Their selections show us where that students' interests lie, whether it be in sports, history, authors or theologians. It was a fun and rewarding day for both teachers and students. Both teachers agree that the students were outstanding."
Students echoed teachers' enthusiasm.
Kennedy Schreck, who portrayed women's suffrage crusader Susan B. Anthony, commented, "I like this unit because it involves American history people. It makes us have dreams like they did. They inspire us, and it helps us learn from their mistakes. It was a fun project. I liked typing my report, creating my poster display and then finding my costume. I loved being Susan B. Anthony and loved reading about how she fought for her dream to see that women got the right to vote."
One of visitors' favorite portrayals, was Caden Wittrock's presentation of Milton Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Co.
Wittrock, who gave every visitor a full-size Hershey candy bar, says, "It was a good experience because I learned about a person I knew nothing about - Milton Hershey. I learned that he worked from a young age in candy stores and eventually started his own company. I also learned there almost wasn't a Hershey Company because Milton was supposed to have been on the Titantic but at the last minute chose to take another ship. I think all the kids enjoyed this unit because we don't do big projects a lot. This was just fun to do."
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