Wax Museum Information & Recap

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Each year one of my FAVORITE projects is our annual Wax Museum. At my old school - students picked important Americans to research. At my current school we pair the Wax Museum with our American Revolution unit and students pick someone that was important in the Revolutionary War. No matter what you are learning, I highly encourage you to include a wax museum in your activities because it provides an incredible opportunity for students to not only research, write, and learn - but also it provides students the opportunity to present and public speak and those are LIFE SKILLS that they will carry with them forever. I am going to break this blog post into questions and answers. If I missed an important question - drop it in the comments and I'll get it added asap! 

Question: How long does this project last?

Answer: The project is a long one. We start early because we want students to have plenty of time to research and memorize their speech. We also want to give parents plenty of time to hopefully create a costume of some sort. This year we started our research in early February and our actual museum was at the end of March. 

Question: What are the different components of the Wax Museum?
Answer: The components of our wax museum include: research, written speech, backdrop, costume, and memorized speech.

Students research their person during library time. Our awesome librarians help with this. We upload a graphic organizer to Google Classroom that students complete while they research. It keeps their research guided as they work. Then - in ELA students turn that research into a paragraph written in first person. They begin to memorize that speech as they work on their backdrops at home. We practice our speeches LOTS at school so that our students get comfortable speaking and sharing in front of others. 

Question: How do students choose their person?
We have a list of important female and male American Revolution people that we post on Google Classroom. I give students two nights to go home and do a bit of research to see who they want to be. Then - I have them talk to their parents about who they want to be. I want parent support and buy in. I have them bring in a sticky note with their top three choices and have it signed by a parent. We do a luck of the draw who gets to choose first - and we do that until everyone has someone. This past year everyone got one of their three choices. 

Question: What parts are students responsible for doing at home?
We send a five foot piece of white butcher paper home for students to decorate. We simply do not have enough space at school for them to spread these out to work on. We make sure they have three weekends to work on them and lots of time. Students can take home any supplies they need. I offer to print pictures if they need them, etc. I try to make this as easy as possible for them. The only stipulation of the backdrops is that they have to say their person's name and they must include images that represent their person. This leaves students LOTS of ways to be creative. 

Parents also help their students come up with a costume. We have a box of extras for those that don't have anything and provide support as we can. We tell them not to buy anything. Khakis and a white shirt for boys and a plain dress for girls works just fine! 

Question: What rubrics did you use?
Over the years, I have developed rubrics for every aspect of this project. I post ALL of the rubrics on Google Classroom so that students and parents know exactly what is for a grade and what is expected for each part. Another coworker created a parent email that we share with our parent. It simply breaks down the timeline, explains costume ideas, and includes pictures. 

I have added my rubrics to Teachers Pay Teachers. They are all Google Docs so that you can edit and revise if you need to! The only rubric not included is the science portion (they made a 3d button) because that is not my rubric to share! The rubrics included are: research rubric/graphic organizer, paragraph rubric, poster/outfit rubric, and a rubric for their speech. 

Question: What other resources did you use?
Answer: I LOVE picture books, so I give my students lots of picture books to use as they research and learn about their person. You can access a list of all of the books I purchased here. 

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