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Lake Ridge Elementary second-graders bring history to life

Madison Mathews • Apr 12, 2013 at 10:02 AM

History was alive Thursday at Lake Ridge Elementary School.

Pint-sized versions of such historical figures as Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Houdini, Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson, Walt Disney and others were spread out along the track at Lake Ridge, telling a group of proud parents and teachers who they were as part of the school’s annual living wax museum.

“We have several presidents — Andrew Jackson, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. We have Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Steve Jobs, Neil Armstrong, Princess Diana, Rosa Parks and Amelia Earhart,” second-grade teacher Patti Janutolo said.

This is the third year second-graders at Lake Ridge have hosted the living museum, according to Janutolo. The event has become increasingly popular among students, like Meryck Rogers and Haley Jones.

Both Rogers and Jones — who were portraying Benjamin Franklin and Elvis Presley, respectively — worked for weeks researching their subjects as they prepared for Thursday’s living museum.

“I knew that he invented electricity and that he flew a kite during a storm,” Rogers said of Franklin.

Jones said everything she learned about the King of Rock and Roll was interesting.

“I only knew that he was famous, but I learned a lot and I’m really happy I got to do it,” she said.

One of the new skills highlighted by the Common Core curriculum is research and biographies.

The living museum helps students grow those skills by researching their respective subjects, writing a report and making a timeline.

Additionally, Janutolo said the project helps kids better their speaking skills and gain a better appreciation for history.

“That’s a skill we work on in second grade and how to make eye contact and be confident in their skills. We also want them to understand the person they’re studying about, the time period and that culture. Some of the kids were surprised to learn that we haven’t always had computers,” she said.

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