Stemming from his own teaching experience, Rick Riordan's best-selling book, "The Lightning Thief," and its sequels easily lend themselves to classroom use. Enrichment activities can extend the study of the Greek mythology that underlies the books into language and writing, drama, art, PE and integrated technology projects. Challenge students to stretch themselves beyond simple vocabulary and comprehension exercises and to delve into the rich backdrop of the culture and mythology that provides the context for Percy Jackson's, Grover's and Annabeth's epic adventures and exploits.
Students choose a character and write a letter from that character to another character. For example, Percy writes to Gabe explaining how his car got totalled, or Grover can write to the satyr council to persuade them to grant him his seeker's license. Any of the campers can write to their Olympian parent about parent-child issues, changing bad habits or to plead for their help with a quest.
Letters to the Author
Write book review letters to Rick Riordan. On his Myth and Mystery page, Mr. Riordan shows an example of a clever class writing project that folds up to resemble Camp Half Blood cabins with the letter to the author on the inside.
Let students choose a favourite chapter out of "Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief" and create a reader's theatre script. Have them assign parts, practice and perform for the class.
Percy learns that the reason he struggles with dyslexia is because his "brain is hard-wired for ancient Greek." Try to see things the way Percy does by learning the Greek alphabet and a few words in Greek.
Take an online tour through the Greek art collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then sculpt and paint a Greek vase or a model of one of the gods or goddesses of Olympus. Draw a full-colour detailed illustration of the gods and goddesses in their ancient and modern forms, such as Ares on his motorcycle. Art students may also draw the creatures and monsters of Greek mythology. Aspiring cartoonists can create a comic strip or comic book inspired by mythology. Create a wanted poster for Luke, a map of the Underworld or an illustration of a favourite scene. Let students build dioramas of Olympus or Camp Half Blood.
Students may work individually or in teams to create digital slide shows that show pictures and descriptions of the gods, goddesses, monsters and other mythical creatures of Greek mythology. Descriptions should include the gods' and goddess' area of influence, his or her symbol, the story of each character's birth or creation, and a summary of the important facts and stories about each that highlight powers and personality quirks.
Tell students to pretend you are Chiron, and give them a number where they can text you. Have them pretend to be one of the characters in such distress that he finds it necessary to break the necessary ban on cell phone use by demigods. They should compose a text message that conveys the situation in 150 characters or less so as to run it under the monsters' detection net and send it to your number.
Hold a field day with Camp Half Blood-style games such as capture the flag (minus the deadly weapons, of course) and mock sword fighting. Add other events such as foot racing, broom javelin toss, three-legged racing, arm wrestling and frisbee discus throwing. Encourage students to dress in Greek style and serve Greek refreshments.