History Comes to Life in Cedar Rapids Classrooms

By Sarah McCarthy, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Two fifth grade classrooms at Wright Elementary School brought history to life on Wednesday. The kids dressed up and struck a pose to make a real-life wax museum.

"About two months ago we introduced the biography unit to our fifth graders and offered them a crate full of books," said Nanette Waddilove, one of the teachers behind the project. "They were able to pick out their own biography of a person they'd like to represent."

The kids picked a wide variety of historical characters. Costumes ranged from the King of Pop to Thomas Edison. One student said she wanted to be someone that not every elementary student had heard of before.

"I wanted to be someone that would be remembered or someone that people don't really know about," said Aubree Steenboek, who dressed as Joan of Arc. "She was someone that had changed lives and I said 'Well that's the kind of person that I want to be.'"

Aubree also said she put hours of research into the project.

""First I read a book and then I went online and then I started to write my story and then I edited it," she said. "It took about two or three weeks."

But her teacher said all the work was worth it.

"The kids just did an amazing job. We don't tell them what to wear. We just show them a picture and they decide themselves," Waddilove said. "We're trying to prepare them for middle school and they will have many projects. This is an accumulating project, I think they understand how it all works, so they'll be prepared."

This is only the second year that the kids created the museum but teachers said they plan to assign this project each year from now on.
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