Sixth- and seventh-graders at Winterville Charter Academy participated in a living wax museum. Michael Alexander, sixth- and seventh-grade social studies teacher at Winterville, led the project to engage students with history to help them learn about the different empires and eras.
There were historical figures represented from many empires and nations throughout history, stretching from Mesopotamia to modern-day countries, such as the United States. Some of these historical figures included Sargon the Great, Genghis Khan, Caesar Augustus, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, Darius the Great, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa.
“It’s important for the students to learn about historical figures so they can have a better understanding of their lives and how they became the people that we know them as,” said Michael Alexander, sixth- and seventh-grade social studies teacher at Winterville. “Students can learn about how someone with a simple upbringing can change and impact their society and the world, such as how Rosa Parks helped ignite major protests in Montgomery, Alabama for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus simply because she was African American; or how Abraham Lincoln could be born into poverty and eventually rise up to be one of America’s greatest presidents while also creating great social change by helping to abolish slavery.”
Students created a poster board that displayed information about the person they were representing and dressed as a real-life wax figure for the person they chose. All grade levels, staff, and parents had the chance to visit the living wax museum and were able to push the button on the poster board, which then prompted the student impersonating the historical figure to speak. When they spoke, they would tell the visitor a little bit about who they were representing.
“This project can help inspire and encourage the students and others to better themselves by seeing the example that many of these historical figures have set for us,” said Alexander. “Hopefully, it will also help the students gain more of an interest in history. This will be the first of many living wax museums that we do at our school.”