Learning Experience Plans

Occupations & Wax Museum Presentations

Objectives | Hook; Initiation; Building Inclusion | Activities / Strategies | Reflection Questions | Appreciations

Grade Level: 5th

How does this lesson fit within a larger unit of study?

  • Comparing and contrasting jobs from the past to today’s jobs.
  • Economics: How much were people paid then vs. now?

Timeframe: 2 / 45-minute sessions

Download this Learning Experience Plan


CT State Social Studies Standards:

HIST 5.2 Compare life in a specific historical period to life today

Hist 5.3 Use information about a historical source, including the maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose to judge the extent to which the source is useful for studying a particular topic.

ECO 5.1 Identify positive and negative incentives that influence the
decisions people make.

Additional CT CORE Standards:

Speaking and Listening


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Compelling Questions Engaged:

Why was America seen as a land of economic opportunity?

How did the occupations/roles of the people in the painting differ from occupations/roles of people today?

Lesson’s Content Objectives:

Students will identify occupations and roles of individuals and animals
performed in the masterpiece artwork, Seven Miles to Farmington and compare them to jobs of today and present information in a “Wax Museum” format.

Lesson’s Collaborative/Social Objectives:

  • Participate fully
  • Listen attentively
  • Express appreciation of others’ ideas
  • Reflect on group interaction
  • Think constructively
  • Make group decisions
  • Respect and value different skills and opinions

Materials & Prep Required

Seven Miles to Farmington masterwork projected on the smartboard

Copies of masterpiece for small group work

T-Chart: Occupations 1853 vs. Occupations 2017

Hook; Initiation; Building Inclusion

How will you connect students to their prior learning or experiences?

Activities / Strategies

How will you have students interact with each other about the lesson content? How will students be engaged in inquiry and creativity? What assessment strategies will be employed?

Day 1

Students will work in small groups to complete a t-chart identify occupations/roles performed in the master artwork of people and animals vs. occupations of their parents and pets.

Students will identify the jobs they see being completed in the artwork by viewing and reading the information on the website.

Students will use the internet to identify the salary of different occupations and compare past vs. present.

  • What tools and materials are needed to perform the occupations: Then and Now?
  • What training or education is needed to be successful? Then and Now?

Day 2

Students will choose an individual from the art masterpiece to present in a “Wax Museum” format.

The “living wax museum” is a collection of visual displays where students, dressed as famous individuals, stand at attention, while visitors walk around and tour exhibits illustrating the life of the person represented.

Step 1:
Students will research the figure/occupation/animal that you have chosen.

Step 2:
You will create a display board with illustrations and details to identity facts about your figure/occupation/animal.

Step 3:
You will write a 10-20 second summary (oral presentation) introducing important facts about your figure/occupation to the museum visitors. This summary can be written on note cards for reference on the day of the living wax museum. (You should try to have your summary/speech memorized!)

Step 4:
From research, you will put together a simple costume that represents the person/occupation you are portraying. You may also use props to help you depict the figure. The costume will be worn during the presentation.

Step 5:
On the Living Wax Museum Day, you will set up a station complete with posters, props, etc. You will have your presentation notes handy.

You will also have a “button” that guests will press in order to have you start saying your oral presentation (we will be making the “buttons” in class).

Step 6:
Invited students, parents, and faculty will visit the museum. When the guests pass the historical figure and push the button, you will recite your speech. You should remain “in character” at all times during the Living Wax Museum.

5 minutes

Reflection Questions


What surprised you about the jobs/occupations of people or roles of animals?


How successful was our Living Wax Museum?
What did our class do to make it so?


How would you rate your Living Wax Museum presentation? Would you have changed anything?

2 minutes


Invite appreciations. “What did you notice about our work together today?”