Fifth graders are familiar with projects where they dress up like historical figure and report in character, but the students in a Chinese Immersion Program prepared a history wax museum presentation in Chinese and English.
At Wasatch Elementary School in Provo, Utah, students researched their chosen historical figure for a month. They created a presentation board, wrote and memorized a speech, and gathered items that represented the person and they dressed like them. Then, the wrote their speech in Chinese.
Students visiting the gym could then push an “English” or “Chinese” button at any station that was marked with Chinese writing. They could hear the presentation in either Chinese or English about important historical figures such as Einstein, Pocahontas, Stan Lee, Isadora Duncan, and others.
“The hardest part was memorizing it in both languages,” said Brianne Young, who was portraying Duncan.
The students did not just write speeches in English and then translate. They were required by their Chinese Immersion teacher, Melody Yang, to write a different speech, including the same facts but using each language’s best phrasing and grammar.
“Our English and Chinese are at different levels, so we can’t write out the English word-for-word,” said Nathan Craig Nuttall, who portrayed Lee.