SCHERERVILLE | All was still and quiet at Homan Elementary School on Tuesday as Kristen Kerns' fourth-grade Advanced class opened the doors to a Famous Hoosier Wax Museum.
Students dressed in character remained frozen until a visitor pressed a red button which was located on their hand. Once the button was pressed, the "wax figure" came to life, presenting a 45- to 60-second memorized monologue to for family and friends.
The project was a culminating activity for the class' study of Indiana. Language Arts and Social Studies content was integrated as students researched the lives of famous Hoosiers, generated timelines, created poetry, composed reflections, and memorized monologues.
“I liked this kind of learning because I like going in depth and really ‘dissecting’ the project. It makes school like a summer camp. Creativity fills the walls and our brains,” said Cara Eklund, 10.
Students also studied the time period during which their Hoosier celebrity lived, providing a frame of reference to link learning to a specific time and event in history.
"Students were sorting, reading, and taking notes from multiple sources of nonfiction informational text," Kerns said. The students' area of concentration varied from the Civil War to The Great Depression, from The World Wars to Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement."
Students also analyzed the biographies of their Hoosier in order to find examples of failures that were overcome to become successful.
"The goal was to show the students that success isn't always something that comes easily," Kerns added. "Those who are successful must find ways to persevere the obstacles that life presents. Every student was able to reflect on the importance of persistence in their Hoosier’s life and to relate this to their own lives."
The research had the intended effect. “I learned that people in history struggled, but they never gave up,” said Carson Schalk, 10.
Indicative of true learning, students also generated their own quotes about effort. "Effort is a sea that is full of sharks, but once you get past it’s smooth sailing," said Amelia King, 9.