Bamberg kids focus on famed inventors' stories
January 15, 2005
BAMBERG, Germany — Although they were no match as far as likeness goes, the “wax figures” at Bamberg Elementary School’s wax museum of inventors certainly had Madame Tussaud’s beat in how lifelike they were.
About 50 pupils from Dianne Hodges’ and Sally Friedrich’s fourth-grade classes posed Friday as wax figures of inventors they had researched on the Internet. Parents and pupils from two other Bamberg Elementary School classes had remote controls that would turn the figures on to speak about their inventions.
Although they tried to stand perfectly still — in true wax figure fashion — when not giving their narration, the children giggled occasionally when they thought no one was looking.
Pupils could pick any inventor they wanted to research, but the focus was on black inventors, Hodges said.
“We thought this would increase the kids’ awareness of the many inventions by African-Americans as we get ready for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Black History Month,” she said.
A particularly talkative wax figure of Madame C.J. Walker, portrayed by Desmonique Lacy, told of Walker’s hair-care treatment that made her very wealthy in the early 1900s.
Although the pupils were only required to memorize a paragraph, Desmonique’s narrative lasted a couple of minutes.
“This was a very good project, but it was hard to learn what she invented,” she said.
Robert Dusek, who studied Henry Ford, said something that not many children are likely to say.
“I like memorizing things,” Robert said. “I knew that he invented cars, but I learned that he also invented the V-8 engine. I was kind of nervous, and I’ve been saying ‘um’ a lot.”
Whether they were nervous or not, the wax figures from Hodges’ class probably preferred their public speaking gig over what would follow the one-hour wax museum project — a spelling test.