Biography Project Brings History To Life

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CLARK – Fifth grade students at F.K. Hehnly Elementary School in Clark took part in an interactive project about the history of the U.S. Presidents. After weeks of research and preparation, students dressed up as presidents and performed as if they were a wax statue in a museum.

According to fifth grade teacher, Kathy Ulrich, the goal of the project was for the students to become actively involved in history while representing a particular American president. The wax museum was the culmination of six weeks of reading, research, and writing.


Each student chose an American president, read a biography about their subject, and then researched various sources to learn about the legacy each president left behind. The research lesson focused on the gathering of information and the use of a variety of resources. As students read, they took notes about their president, for example, dates of important events, where they were born, where they went to school, if they had wives or children, etc.

The students included information regarding their president’s pathway to the White House and any specific difficulties they had while in office. The final project included a report and a poster board with pictures, famous quotes and any other important information or memorabilia.

On “museum day”, students looked like they stepped out of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. They dressed up as their character, donning beards, mustaches, white hair, grey hair, or no hair, bringing in props if appropriate, and presenting their information on display boards. They stood frozen like a wax statue until visitors walked up to them. In order to activate each wax museum “exhibit”, visitors had to press a button on the “President’s” hand to bring them to life. Visitors wandered from person to person listening to the most important aspects of the presidents’ lives.

The “exhibits” did a wonderful job dressing up in costume and informing the visiting students and parents about the lives of well-known presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. They also heard wonderful tales of William Taft who became stuck in a bathtub in the White House and Theodore Roosevelt who had the Teddy Bear named after him. All together, there were 22 United States presidents presented at this show and both the students and visitors learned many things about the presidents that they had never known before.

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