How do you convince a group of 20 fourth grade students that studying famous individuals from Kansas can be fun? By letting them pick out a favorite and become that person for an afternoon.
Travis Schafer’s students at Peabody-Burns Elementary School have spent three weeks creating a “Kansas Wax Museum” of interesting, famous, and historic Kansans.
The wax museum was open Friday afternoon in the elementary school. Parents, grandparents, friends, and students from other grades toured the museum and learned about the famous figures the fourth graders portrayed.
“The kids really got into this,” Schafer said. “I had a list of about 30 characters and the students each picked one. They did research about the life of the person they were to portray, wrote a brief biography on a three by five card and memorized the facts to present to an audience. They also chose an appropriate costume, make-up and accessories and prepared a poster about their character.”
Scafer said the project helped the students develop skills in research, history, art, writing, drama, and public speaking.
The people represented by class members ranged from historic individuals such as Dwight Eisenhower and Wyatt Earp to country singer Martina McBride, football player Barry Sanders, and actress Kirsty Alley.
Students posed as statues with their heads bowed at various “stations” in the hallways, art room, and library of the elementary school. Visitors were told to touch the star sticker on the student’s hand to start the story of a famous person from Kansas.
At the end of the recitation, the student’s head bowed again, awaiting the next group of visitors to the PBES Kansas Wax Museum.