Our 4th grade team does a huge wax museum project each year for their study of the Colonial Period. Kids get assigned a person from colonial times and spend several days researching their person and taking notes. The notes get condensed into a short script that they memorize. Then, they dress up as the character, stand in the halls of Barrow, and families and classes walk through and listen to the “wax figures” come to life and talk.
It’s a great project, but I’ve always wondered about bringing in some digital components for many reasons. One reason is the fact that many families don’t get to come and listen to their child perform something that he or she has spent a lot of time working on. Another reason is that many students are overwhelmed by the volumes of people walking up and waiting to hear a monologue. Traditionally, boys have chosen males from the colonial period and girls have chosen females, but I’m sure that there are 4th graders who would love to research the other gender and not necessarily dress up as that character.
We have a big project in the works to the end the year in 4th grade. We’ve extended the wax museum to include the entire year’s social studies curriculum and revisit many of the famous people from history in the 4th grade standards. We’ve also decided to give the students many choices about what they will create as their final product. The art teacher is also working with us on this project and having kids research images of their chosen person and create new images or collages with the found images. Whatever students decide to create, it will become digital through a video uploaded to youtube or a link to the project that they create online.
Before I had even tried it, I suggested that the wax museum be a display of all of the pictures that students created or compiled and that we could use the augmented reality app Layar to link those images to the digital wax museum projects. The teachers were thrilled and excited, but I was a little nervous trying something I have never done before. A fantastic opportunity came up for me to try this same project on a much smaller scale with 12 third grade students in Ms. Spurgeon’s ELT class before doing the project with 70 4th graders.
The third graders chose an African American to research, wrote a script, and filmed themselves or created a video using Tellagami or Chatterpix. We uploaded those videos to Youtube. Students searched online for images of their person. We uploaded those to Layar and then linked the videos to each picture. I published our “campaign” in Layar Creator.
Layar is loaded onto all of our iPads. Mrs. Spurgeon took the images we used in Layar and displayed them in the rotunda, library, and third grade hall. Students and families can check out an iPad in the library to go and scan the images. When they scan, the student videos pop up right on top of the picture on the wall and students and families can listen to the video about the person. Here are a few of the videos that pop up through augmented reality:
I think it’s going to be a messy process to do this with the whole fourth grade with only 5 weeks of school left, but it will be fun and we will learn so much about continuing to upgrade this fantastic project into something that reaches a wider audience.