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Day of the Living (and Dead) Historical Figures

11/5/2013
As a former LMS student, one of my favorite traditions has always been Mystery History. An educational way to celebrate Halloween, this schoolwide event gives children the opportunity to dress up as their favorite historical or literary character. Each child prepares three clues (ordered from hardest to easiest) on a card, and then reads them to the class. Other students try to guess who the mystery person is. Typical selections of UE students include, but are not limited to: famous atheletes, various Harry Potter characters, world leaders, prominent artists, and comic book heroes. Guessing is almost as fun as dressing up! 

I'm always excited to see when students connect their Mystery History selections to other aspects of the curriculum, or current events. This year, one student chose Walt Disney, the subject of her Senior Project, as a Mystery History character. Another chose Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of female power during WWII who also appears in a poster on the wall of our classroom. Another chose Antoine Lavoisier, a revolutionary chemist, in honor of our Chemistry Science unit. A fourth student portrayed Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist. This year's historical characters also included Vincent Van Gogh, Rachel Carson, two Margaret Thatchers, Queen Elizabeth, and Nicola Tesla (NOT Albert Einstein!). 

Giving students the opportunity to act as their heroes for a day...or even an hour, helps them look to their own future even as they revive the past. Not only does Mystery History offer the possibility of learning about someone new, but it also gives children a chance to perform a type of future self they might one day want to be, whether a scientist, musician, artist, writer, or soccer star. It is a fitting -and fun- counterpoint to our cultural studies of Ancient Humans, Civilizations, and Early Americans, and a chance for children to exercise their powers of imagination.


Laini and the UE Team