Eastside Connections students perform wax museum project outdoors

NILES – “Wax figures” of former President Abraham Lincoln, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, intrepid pilot Amelia Earhart, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, athlete Kobe Bryant and musical sensation Justin Bieber all made appearances at Eastside Connections School after hours on April 22 and 23. The historical figures, celebrities and more gave speeches to families that walked in front of them – activated by a “motion sensor.”

The “wax figures” were portrayed by Eastside students eager to share their love of history with their families and friends.

The historical figures and famous personalities were presented by second graders tasked with researching the figure, making a presentation board of information and memorizing a speech to give about the person they had researched. The students arrived dressed like their subject.

The project is modeled after a “wax museum” by second-grade educators Lauren Cornelius and Rhonda Belcher. Instead of having a button or touching the student’s hand to activate the presentation, as in a museum with audio sound clips, Belcher and Cornelius decided to have students imagine they had motion sensors to activate their speeches. The outdoor presentations and “motion sensors” were part of the alterations to make the after-hours presentation more COVID-19 safe for everyone involved.

“You have to be creative to make it work,” Belcher said.

The content of the presentations included many types of learning integral to the second graders’ curriculum, the teachers said.

“We did a unit on biographies,” Cornelius said. “[The project] ties in their writing, technology with the research, social studies, art, and language arts. It ties in all of the students’ different [learning] standards.”

The students stood next to their presentation boards as they spoke about their subject’s life and legacy.

“The turnout was insane,” Cornelius said. “The families wanted to come.”

“We like to have parents come to the presentations,” Belcher said. “We think it’s important to have [students] see the community involvement. [For example], I’m not asking you to learn about LeBron James to tell me, but to tell other people about him.”

Cornelius said attendees were encouraged to ask questions of the students, and that it was part of the experience for them not to know everything.

“Even if they don’t know the answer yet, they can answer how they need to do more research to find it,” Cornelius said.

Principal Joe Racht attended and said it was “a really neat night” for everyone.

This was the second year for the project. In 2020, Belcher and Cornelius had students spaced out on the playground at the school during July with masked attendees hearing the students’ speeches.

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 901,683 cases, 19,902 deaths

Dowagiac

Free Concert Friday caps SMC choir camp

News

Fort St. Joseph Open House returns Aug. 7-8

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac accepts donation of property for redevelopment

Buchanan

Buchanan leaders hear community development update, resident tree concerns

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 23-26

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Niles, Dowagiac featured stops in Lemon Rally vehicle race

Cass County

9-year-old injured in Cass County ATV accident

Local Government

Mayor presents volunteer with Certificate of Appreciation

Cassopolis

Cassopolis Public Schools superintendent resigns

Berrien County

Niles man gets jail, probation on assault-related charges

News

Two arrested on drug trafficking charges in Niles

Berrien County

Dowagiac woman gets probation, jail time in Berrien County stolen property case

Dowagiac

SMC ETS ventures back outdoors

News

Drunk driver sentenced to prison

Business

Chamber hosts ribbon cutting for Dr. A’s Releaf Center

Business

Niles chamber welcomes in-home health care company to the community

Cassopolis

Police searching for vehicle of interest in Cassopolis shooting

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 21-23

Dowagiac

Three injured in Silver Creek Township crash

Cass County

Former SMC instructor accepts plea deal in sexual misconduct case

Cass County

Vandalia resident sentenced to 10 months in jail for drug offense

Berrien County

Students experiencing homelessness remain hard to identify after year with remote education

Cass County

Dowagiac man heading back to prison on weapons charges