Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

The multipurpose room at Eisenhower Elementary School was filled with living historical figures Friday afternoon as students from the fourth grade brought history to life.

The capstone to a two-week project allowed the students to choose their own figures. Teachers Cherity Elder and Vanessa Sawyer required the subjects be famous and known for something positive.

“A few years ago we were looking at how to do biographies more interesting,” Elder said. “I don’t remember who’s original idea it was. We get a lot of ideas from other teachers and Pinterest, and we just ran with it.”

The students were reading the biography of Martin Luther King Jr. in class. This allowed them to research someone they wanted to know more about and showcase that figure to others. The students had to learn everything they could about their figures.

“We use the technology to research, and then they create a slideshow,” Sawyer said. “Each slide is a different part of that person’s life. That’s what we base the speech off of.”

The students then spend three to five days memorizing the speeches and getting costumes ready.

Once the student was in character, and in place, they were not allowed to speak unless a visitor to the museum pressed a “button” on them bringing them to life. Once awoken the figures told their story, in a “Night-at-the-Museum” way.

Both Elder and Sawyer stated that the students loved the project and took ownership of their individual character.

“They loved it,” Elder said. “We didn’t get any backlash from any student. Usually when you send out a project and somebody is going to hate it. But I have not had one student hate this project. I think they take ownership of the person that they picked. Then they had to memorize their biographies.”

The students even became the teacher with some of their choices.

“Some actors that I didn’t know, so I learned a lot from their speech,” Sawyer said. “But, even the famous historical person I know they become a master of that person. So then they teach me a ton from it.”