Wax museum combines history, writing and reading for Waupun students

March 24, 2017 GMT

WAUPUN — Students brought Wisconsin history to life Monday at Rock River Intermediate School.

Fourth grade teachers Marilyn Klobuchar, Jan Nickel, Margi Harmsen, Julie Schmidt and Sue Krause spent all of the third quarter helping 131 students prepare to put on a wax museum featuring people with Wisconsin ties. Teachers provided a list of people, and students who wanted to research the biography of a person not on the list had to show a Wisconsin connection.

Students researched, wrote and practiced a speech about each person’s childhood, education, adulthood, family and accomplishments.

The gym at Rock River Intermediate School buzzed with activity Monday, filled with students dressed as athletes, activists, authors, actors, astronauts, musicians, politicians, doctors, military servicemen, teachers, lawyers and more. Green Bay Packers players and coaches proved a popular choice, as did race car drivers, Harry Houdini, Oprah Winfrey, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Marguerite Henry and Zona Gale.

At the touch of a “button,” the wax museum statues came to life, reciting biographical information about their lives and sharing their Wisconsin connections. In addition to costumes, students created posters featuring facts, photos and illustrations about their characters.

Krause said two of the teachers have been incorporating the wax museum into their curriculum for about 11 years, and that all the fourth grade teachers began working together when Waupun consolidated its elementary schools in 2009.

“Our museum combines social studies, writing and reading standards,” Krause said. “We focus on Wisconsin people because teaching Wisconsin history is our social studies focus in fourth grade.”

Third grade students visited the wax museum during the school day to get a preview of what to expect in fourth grade. Fourth grade students also had the option to portray their characters again Monday evening for families and friends during the school’s family literacy night.