For example, fourth grader Blake Hilburn represented Christopher Columbus.
“People come up and they press these stickers [on our hands], we call them ‘buttons,’ and then we give them our speech,” Hilburn explained. “... I sit there with my telescope, which is broken, and I just lay my hand on my leg and [visitors] press my button and I say my speech.”
Teachers said the event was two months in the making.
“It’s a fun way of learning [historical figures], knowing that they get to present them and stand up in costume and play out these roles, they enjoy it more and because it does include the reading standards of going through and actually reading and researching about these people and [incorporates] the writing standards of being able to put that knowledge on paper,” fourth-grade teacher Linda Immonen said. “... We cover everything from explorers up to Civil War and fifth grade does Civil War [and] on.
“We cover the American Revolution, all of our explorer standards, all of our Indian tribes — we’re actually pre-1492, but we do study those as well. “
While the event featured figures like presidents and explorers, it also featured contributors to pop culture, such as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson.
“We looked at our standards, but we also looked at the time periods and added people in,” fifth-grade teacher Ashley Goble said. “... In fifth grade we started in writing class. In the writing blocks they chose a historical figure, with the help of their teacher, and they did research and a research paper.
“Then when they came to me, I do science and social studies, they condensed their historical paper into a one-minute speech and practiced that. Then we came up with costumes and props and things like that in my class, so it was a cross-curricular activity.”
She continued, “Pretty much the whole year the historical figures have been taught in the context of what we’re studying, so they knew the people before they were able to choose. They had a lot of background and they pretty much have been thinking about who they wanted to be since we started talking about them.”
Fifth grader Kaci Wilkins represented Bessie Coleman, who became the first African-American female pilot to stage a public flight in 1922.
When asked why she chose Coleman, Wilkins said, “She was just an interesting person to write about and I wanted to learn more. ... We were learning about World War II and World War I and that Bessie Coleman was born in that time and died in that time.
“She was [alive] near the Great Depression and the stock market crash, so I did some research about her and learned that since she was born during that time, maybe I could try and do her during the Wax Museum.”
She said her parents helped her construct her costume, which she based on pictures she had researched of Coleman.