by Danielle Wagner
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) Who is a hero? What makes someone a hero? Those are questions fourth graders at Grant Wood Elementary needed to answer for a six week unit on heroes.
From Florence Nightingale to George Patton to Benjamin Franklin, the choice of hero was up to the students as long as they could justify why that person made a difference.
"We emphasize the difference between a real hero and a celebrity. Somebody who is famous just because they're pretty or because they were in the movies, but haven't really done anything and then the person who yes, may happen to be a basketball start, but what else has he done off the court," said teacher Jenifer Carstensen.
Hannah Ahlhelf chose Bessie Coleman.
"I read a book on her. She was the first black person to get a pilot's license," said Ahlhelf.
Sarah Altemeier picked Milton Hershey.
"Because I like chocolate and he was really generous and he tried a lot because his factory failed three times," said Altemeier.
And Emma Witt portrayed Andy Warhol.
"I thought it was a good idea because maybe not everybody would know about him and it might be fun to learn about a new person," said Witt.
The students did research on their hero, wrote an essay, made a poster and developed a prop. The fourth graders presented what they learned to other classes.
Teacher Jenifer Carstensen said the goal is to teach the students everyone has it inside of them to be a hero.
"Most important they found there is somebody they are able to get to know about who started out just like them and who overcame some challenges, went through some obstacles and then was able to change the world and that's what I want the kids to see," said Carstensen.
The students learned first-hand heroes are made, not born.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner