- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

CONCORD, Mich. (AP) - The way James Franssen sees it, if it weren’t for Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, he wouldn’t have pencils to do his school work.

“He invented dynamite,” said 10-year-old James, a student at Concord Elementary School. “And dynamite was used in mining, and they mine for graphite.”

This is just one of the tidbits of knowledge James dug up in his research for a popular project done by fourth-graders in Concord every year, according to the Jackson Citizen Patriot (https://bit.ly/16HE3xI).

The Wax Museum project gives students a couple of weeks to research a notable person. Then they create displays using that information and dress up in clever costumes to be part of a wax museum teachers, students, parents and others tour.

“I think this is the first project she’s ever done that she’s been this excited about,” said April Gamet, mother of 9-year-old fourth-grader Savanna Gamet.

Based on her love of fashion and her desire to someday be a designer, Savanna researched and portrayed Coco Chanel.

“We both like little black dresses,” Savanna said. “And I learned she was a singer, too.”

This year, 56 students from Betsey Stacks’ and Trischa Fischers’ fourth-grade classes participated in the project. They portrayed such people as Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Queen Elizabeth and Leonardo da Vinci.

“Every year, students come in to class saying they know just what they want to be for the wax museum,” Stacks said. “This gives them a chance to use technology and learn more about history and present what they’ve learned in front of people.”

Students do their research and create their displays in class. They must find out about their notable person’s family and life, find facts about and pictures of them and write about how they are connected to the person in some way.

“Presenting it in the wax museum lets them see each other’s projects and showcase their hard work,” Fischer said. “It’s very exciting.”


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