Most people have seen the movie "300" and even heard the phrase "This is Sparta." But being at University High School in Morgantown for just a couple of hours can teach a person more about the Persian War than they could ever learn from the movie.
"We've learned a lot about the Persian War," said Emma Sizer, a ninth grade student portraying a Persian in the UHS project. "Exactly what happened, where the battles have taken place, and who ended up winning. But then all the numbers and everything, exactly what happened and where it happened too."
The ninth grade students at University High School are learning about the Persian War in a hands-on way. Teachers got creative with their lesson, by having students re-create The Battle of Thermopylae, the famous battle portrayed in "300."
Students each received a side, Persian or Spartan, a figurine to paint, and a history lesson on the Persian War. But history isn't the only subject involved.
"And in English we're making little profiles for our characters to give them a little more life and a background,' said Nicholas Budig, a ninth grader portraying a Spartan. "So it's not just a figurine it's kind of a person."
The art department also made rhinos and elephants for the Persian army to use in the recreation.
"Math is involved with odds and ratios and conversions," said Phil Casky, the History teacher who helped come up with the idea. "English did the Iliad and the Odyssey last week, setting up the Greek mythology for the kids. And then they've done a wonderful job giving life to these kids, or to these soldiers. Giving them a persona."
Students are excited to re-create the battle but they aren't sure what they'll be doing yet.
Casky said he wanted students to realize what the Spartans did for their country.
"They kind of sacrificed themselves," said Jessika Lucero, ninth grade student on the Persian side of the battle. "Because there was only 300 of them against 180,000 Persian warriors. And they kind of sacrificed their lives to save the city of Athens."
Most of the students were most attracted to the numbers part of the historical battle.
"I think it's interesting how 300 people, just 300 people, were able to hold off basically 200,000 people for two days," said Amanda Swistok, a student playing a Spartan. "If I was one of those 300 people I would not be able to do it at all."
The students will be using a real-life 3-D version of Thermopylae in the UHS Media Center Thursday night at 7 p.m. The re-enactment will be opened to the public if you want to come by and watch.
The movie sequel, "300: Rise of an Empire" is set to open in theaters February 7, 2014.