GALLERY: HJHS students make education come to life
When Hartselle Junior High School eighth graders took a field trip to see “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” last fall, it was more than just a time to enjoy a day at the movie theater.
It was actually an assignment.
“We told them that they needed to pay attention because they were going to be doing this in the spring,” said HJHS teacher Jodi Fuqua.
The students did, and they transformed their library and media center into a Smithsonian-style museum April 7. Family, friends and others from the community showed up that night to take tours guided by students, who were acting out a particular character or historical person.
Fuqua said it was a little “chaotic” at times, but the teachers felt like it was a resounding success.
“We knew it was going to be a little chaotic going in because this was the first time we had ever done something like this,” Fuqua said. “The students are what made this a success. They had to learn their characters and then become them. They did their own costumes and makeup. They had to think on their feet, and they did a great job.”
The Night at the Museum is the brainchild of Fuqua and gifted and talented teacher Elisa Harris. It is based on the movie trilogy that is based on the adventures of a museum security guard that sees the exhibits come to life at night.
“This is something that we’ve wanted to do for several years,” Fuqua said.
Fuqua said the event took teamwork from all of the teachers, students, parents and school librarian Beth Rabb to make it a success.
“Every eighth grader played a role in this project,” Fuqua said. “In addition to the actors, tour guides, greeters and workers that were here tonight, we had set designers, painters, those who did videos, costume designers, artists, just to name a few.”
One thing that Fuqua liked is how the project involved every school subject during the day.
“There’s no telling how much they had to study about their subjects to get ready for this,” Fuqua said. “They had to study a little bit of every subject. We used social studies, math, science, English, art, reading, media and more.”
The teachers had no idea what kind of turnout they would have for their inaugural event.
“We were hoping that anyone would show up because nobody knew what it was about,” Fuqua said. “We were overwhelmed with the turnout that we had. We were steady all night.”
The event also acted as a fundraiser for the school’s technology program. In all, they took in about $100 in donations and $700 from selling pizza dinners that same night.
“We will put that money right back into the school’s technology program,” she added.
The seventh graders are also taking a tour during class to experience the Night at the Museum.
“We want them to get ideas for it because it will be their turn next year,” Fuqua said.