Madam Moten's Wax Museum Brings History to Life

Story Number: NNS180305-07Release Date: 3/5/2018 8:24:00 AM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Monique K. Meeks, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs Office

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Second graders from W.T. Sampson School invited the public to attend their living history exhibit, Madam Moten's Wax Museum, in the school library, Feb. 23.

"It truly felt amazing to see so many people there from the community to support our second graders," said Mrs. Zandra Moten, the students' second grade teacher at W.T. Sampson School. "I was surprised to see the wonderful turnout, considering there was a soccer and basketball game going on at the same time. I know that my students felt loved and supported!"

The idea for the event formed based on a previous experience Mrs. Moten had with her third grade students in 2011.

"When reviewing the second grade social studies standards this year, I remembered that allowing students to become a self-selected historical figure would help them to truly understand how people who display characteristics of a great citizen can change the way we live," said Moten.

The students have been learning about characteristics of a good citizen for about 10 weeks. They discussed several historical figures in class, each child (with help from their parents) individually chose which historical figure they wished to portray during the living wax museum event.

Information was given to the students and parents, Dec. 14, to allow them time to think of a figure/leader and acquire props. The students had to submit their historical figure/leader name to the teacher by Jan. 3, and were then given a note-taking packet to complete research on their figure/leader. They had to complete questions on early life, later life, and contributions made to the country by their person and return the packet by the end of January.

Students then worked with their sixth grade writing buddies to turn their notes into semi-scripted paragraphs. The paragraphs were typed in class by students, volunteers, the second grade class's career practicum student, Pamela Meeks, and the teacher.

The presentation boards were provided by the school, but had to be picked up by the parents to complete with their child on their historical figure. The boards were due to the school by Feb. 20 and all boards had to have a three-dimensional aspect. The students worked on the historical figure's/ leader's name in art class.

Students also had to develop their wax museum scripts with their parents. The script had to include the person's name, date of birth and at least three things that they were famous for. The script should have also included when they died or if they were still living. The student had to become the person and dress in a way that would represent their historical figure.

All of that hard work resulted in a memorable event that the public could enjoy. As the guests wandered around Madam Moten's Wax Museum, they would touch the red dot on each student's finger and the student would come to life and tell them facts about their lives while remaining in character throughout the event.

The historical figures they chose included Sally Ride, Daisy Bates, Sacagawea, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malcolm X, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Bethany Hamilton, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Sandra Day O'Connor, Sitting Bull, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, J.J. Watt, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Angela Davis.
Each student should be proud of their accomplishments and the knowledge they shared with the community through this event.

"I felt most proud of my students," said Moten. "They truly became their historical figure. They embodied what it meant to be a wax figure that would magically turn on and speak once their thumb was pressed. My parents also did an amazing job helping their child to become the figure that they were portraying. I also felt very proud that I was able to provide my own child with this wonderful educational experience."

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