Kid stars of human wax museum actually enjoy learning, standing still
With the push of a button, LaSalle Elementary School students became history's most influential people, ranging from Elvis to Einstein, and created a living wax museum Tuesday.
"I'm Albert Einstein," said fourth-grader Easton Jones, dressed in a white lab coat, gray mustache and wig. "I won a Nobel Prize in physics."
Easton of Creve Coeur was one of about 40 fourth-grade students who dressed up as a prominent figure in American history and gave a speech as that person, detailing their most important contributions to the world.
They made elaborate posters, memorized a two-minute speech and came to life when visitors stopped at their booths and pressed a button to activate the "wax" students.
"Hi, my name is Harry Houdini, the most famous magician known to mankind," said fourth-grader Kody Schmidt, who was wrapped head to toe in heavy chains, rope and a straight jacket as the legendary escape artist.
For Kody, choosing Houdini was an easy decision.
"He could escape from almost anything," Kody said. "I found him pretty interesting."
Like Halloween in April, the students stood in their costumes and told their tales to the crowds of people who stood and listened.
"He's been a big hit all day," said Kody's mother, Hazel Jordan of East Peoria.
Parents and family members roamed the school, pressing buttons and hearing the stories of people like Abraham Lincoln, with a stove pipe hat and beard, Walt Disney, Harriet Tubman and even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
"It's a very, very neat idea," said Creve Coeur resident Denise Newton, whose daughter Breanna Newton brought famous flag maker Betsy Ross to life with a bonnet, white wig and a stars-and-stripes dress.
The students worked on the project for about three months by researching the famous figures and creating the costumes.
"It gives the students a chance to do something out of the ordinary," said fourth-grade teacher Linda McEndollar. "It's a really fun way to learn."
Teachers said the project also combines several areas of study, including history, writing and public speaking, in one lesson.
"The students seem to really enjoy it," said fourth-grade teacher MaryKate Nemenoff. "They're learning a whole lot about some of these people. They get pretty into it."
Kevin Sampier can be reached at (309) 346-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.