One of the tables in the Challenger K8 library was set up with skulls, goblets with black jelly beans and bat-shaped brownies. Another had much more pleasant-looking heart-shaped cookies. A third had cookies shaped like eyeballs. The seventh-graders at the tables were handing out treats last Friday while educating staffers, administrators, teachers and students who came by about the Greek gods they had researched.
The skull table featured Hades; the heart cookies, Aphrodite; and the eyeballs were meant to symbolize Ares, the god of war. According to Vinny Donato, 12, whenever Ares killed someone, "eyeballs would pop out."
Seventh-grade reading teachers Lynda Trieu, 25, who spent the day dressed as Athena, and Leslie Rosario, 33, sporting a Medusa snake headpiece, coordinated the lesson.
"Students have been learning about Greek mythology," Trieu said. But also, the students had to teach what they learned to those who visited their displays.
Outside the library in the school's mall area, two seventh-grade geography teachers had set up a labyrinth made out of blue exercise mats positioned vertically. The teachers, Chris King, 39, dressed as Zeus, and Kelly Downey, 31, who portrayed Persephone, supervised the labyrinth wanderers.
Seventh-grader Harry Bennett, 12, described the man-sized puzzle.
"It's a huge maze called a labyrinth, and the students go through it and feel what it's like to be trapped in a real labyrinth," he said, "and they have to watch out for the Minotaur (played by Garrett Napolitano, 13, and Frankie Fontan, 13)."
Jubin Thomas, 13, and his classmates, Nicole Jacquot, 12, David Asbell, 13, Mariah Clark, 12, and Rachel Glowacke, 13, studied Poseidon. Their display included goldfish-shaped crackers and sushi.
"He makes all the horses and earthquakes," Jubin said, describing the sea god. "He made all the corals and all the animals of the sea."
Stephanie Kidd, 13, with her classmates Sara Morrison, 13, Kierra Schau, 12, Austin Winchester, 12, and Jaunadin Bautista, 12, studied Artemis. Their display even included Moon pies.
"She is the god of the moon, the hunt and fertility," Stephanie said. "I thought she was really cool, because my family is really into hunting."
Megan Ryczek, 12, said her group's god was Hermes. "He's the god of luck, travel, thieves and tricks," she said. "He was a messenger of luck in dreams. He was very athletic, because he liked to play a lot of sports and stuff. He has a winged hat and shoes."
Paulette Lash Ritchie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.