WARNER ROBINS -- Two popular book series turned movies have inspired more students to learn about Greek mythology and archery.
At the Summer Enhancement program at Huntington Middle School, 14 girls signed up to learn archery, a skill of The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen. Thats much more than in previous years, instructor Sid Swartz said.
Amy Floyds mythology class also has been a popular choice, with Floyd attributing the rise in attendance to the Percy Jackson book series about Greek gods and their stories.
The Summer Enhancement program lasted two weeks and was half-day sessions held June 4-15 to give gifted students in Houston County the opportunity to take classes they wouldnt normally take during the regular school year, said Jan Jacobsen, director of gifted education for the Houston County Board of Education.
About 450 rising fifth- through seventh-grade students attended this years program.
The classes arent just about having fun, but the focus is on improving critical thinking skills and team building.
They can follow their passion with classes, said Hilltop Elementary School teacher Jennifer Wynn.
In the Smartz Artz class, which Wynn teaches, students created not only an art piece by copying a famous painting but also honed in on a particular part of the painting, such as a small desk in a painting of a bedroom.
Their team skills were challenged by building a game along with rules for playing.
They needed to really brainstorm, Wynn said.
In addition to archery, mythology and art, students were able to choose from a variety of other classes including building robots, decorating cakes and studying about bugs.
During the Bugs, Bugs and More Bugs class, the students caught more than 400 bugs with their nets during their time outside.
We catch lots of grasshoppers, teacher Floyd Jolley said.
At the end of the bug class, students ate a chocolate-covered cricket.
That was good, said Tyler Stella, a rising sixth-grader at Northside Middle School.
Others were not as pleased with their treat.
Eww, I feel feet in my mouth, said rising sixth-grade Mossy Creek Middle School student Ansley Brown, who quickly got out her water bottle to wash out the taste.