MORGANTOWN — You never know who you’re going to run into at Ridgedale Elementary School.
Paul McCartney and Bill Gates were hanging out in the cafeteria Thursday afternoon.
So were Maya Angelou, Walt Disney and Ben Franklin.
Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain, also.
Is that Wayne Gretzky and Jane Goodall?
Oh, and if you’re wondering: Elvis didn’t really leave the building. (He just had to go to the boy’s room.)
It was all part of a unique wax museum-styled history exercise at the school on Goshen Road.
Fifth-grade teachers Todd Edgell, Heather Stickler and Wendy Bloom came up with the lesson plan.
They wanted their students to really know the historical figures they were researching — even if they didn’t want them to know them at all going in.
“That was the idea,” Edgell said.
“Now our students know more than most people about their subjects. And this is the kind of stuff that will stay with them.”
Names of said figures were drawn by a lottery, Edgell said.
Research followed, online and in the library.
Students then crafted biographies and informational posters.
They walked a mile in the shoes of their subjects by dressing up like them.
They showcased all that work Thursday for their classmates, parents and other visitors.
Jane Goodall — Macy Giles, that is — said she was a young anthropologist (26) when she ventured to Tanzania with a notebook and binoculars to study chimpanzees.
“And I gave all the chimpanzees names instead of numbers,” she said. “It was more personable.”
The real Macy, meanwhile, said studying Good-all’s work makes her want to be a veterinarian even more.
“I just love animals,” she said.
Does she have any chimpanzees at home?
“No. Just dogs and cats.”
Then, Macy-as-Goodall grinned.