On June 11, visitors to Ross School third grade’s “wax museum” traveled back in time to learn about early humans and pivotal historical discoveries. The exhibits traced the evolution of life on Earth, with students portraying their ancestors in native environments.
At the start of the tour, spectators met Australopithecus, the first human to walk on two feet; paleontologist Mary Leakey, who is credited with finding Australopithecus footprints at Laetoli in Tanzania; and Homo habilis, the first hominid to build shelter. Next, they encountered Homo erectus, first upright humans to control fire for cooking and use advanced stone tools; Cro-Magnons, the oldest known modern humans in Europe; Homo sapiens, creators of some of the first discovered cave paintings honoring animal spirits; and the Neanderthal, who lived in Western Europe and Asia during the Ice Age.
The tour was fascinating and fun, and the exhibits had an authentic feel, similar to those of a professional history museum. The students’ scripts, sets, costumes, and props helped tell the story, and there was constant action—from Ms. Leakey excitedly examining her mold of the footprints, to hominids returning from the hunt or sharing news around the fire.
“The time periods often blend together when we think of early man, but there are very important and distinct steps in the evolutionary process that happened over millions of years,” said third grade teacher Meghan Hillen. “The class did a superb job of defining our history.”