DEAR MIDDLE SCHOOL EDUCATOR:
The other materials in this study unit are for your students
This page is for you! It is your guide to the latest Learning Enrichment
(LE) product a brand-new study unit in a brand-new series
New Series. LE's "Culture Contact" series tackles goals
identified by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) in its
curriculum standards guide, Expectations of Excellence (EOE). LE's
latest survey of state standards for Grades 6-8 assures us we're on target
with the NCSS goals we've selected
. New Unit. Every student
text page in "Discovering Switzerland!" has been crafted to
lead students through a thinking process that will expand their grasp
of the concept culture. They'll also discover that multilingual
Switzerland has much in common with multicultural America!
Approach. On the surface, this unit is the (fictional) story of Kim
and Lee Dow, who visit relatives in Switzerland during one summer. In
reality, the unit is structured around three basic steps for discovering
what makes a culture unique. The Q-and-A's at the top of unit Pages
1, 2, and 3 introduce and explain those steps.
Thus: On the "Homeland" Page, the Dows research
maps and other sources for clues to the relationship between Switzerland's
geographic features and the formation of its multilingual society. On
the "People" Page, they observe (and make journal
entries about) the occupations, institutions, and goals of Swiss people
today. And on the "Heritage" Page, they report on
and discuss some of the enduring traditions and priorities that define
Switzerland within the world community.
Each of the four student pages in this unit is a "stand-alone"
product, which can be machine-copied and distributed in any order you
wish. However, LE recommends that they be used in the order in which they
are numbered. That's the best way, we believe, to help middle schoolers
achieve and demonstrate the ability to:
- "explain and give examples of how language,
values, and behaviors contribute to the development and transmission
of culture." ("Culture," EOE)
- "articulate the implications of cultural diversity, as well
as cohesion, within and across groups." ("Culture,"
- "examine, interpret, and analyze physical and cultural patterns
and their interactions, such as
settlement patterns, [and]
cultural transmissions of customs and ideas." ("People,
Places, & Environments," EOE)
Culture is the key social studies concept in this unit, and readers
will find progressive clues to its meaning and applications. Many other
terms are defined in context, though you may want to preview the lists
that follow, below. Note that place names appear in the form in which
students will find them in sources they consult for example, the
World Book Encyclopedia.
Note, too, that canton (state) is a term with special meaning
in Swiss history. Over the centuries, Switzerland was formed by an alliance
of 23 independent cantons. After joining, three of them split into so-called
"half-cantons." American sources show some confusion over that
split: A few report that Switzerland now has 20 cantons (and 6 "halves").
Others retain the historic 23. The official number, from Switzerland:
Other Terms to Preview: (1) "Homeland" Page:
alliance, canton, environment, encyclopedia, isolated, physical map/political
map, plateau, precision tool
. Pronunciation aids for students:
Liechtenstein (LICK-ten-stine), Lucerne (Loo-SURN). (2)
"People" Page: commuter, economy, glacier, initiative,
neutrality, pollution, suburb
. Pronunciation: CERN (SURN),
Jungfraujoch (YUN-frow-yok), Ticino (Tuh-CHEE-no), Zurich
(ZOOR-ik), Zwingli (ZWIN-glee), Auf Wiedersehen, Schweiz! (Owf
VEE-der-zane, SHVIGHTS), Au revoir, Suisse! (OAR-e-vwar, SWEES),
Ciao, Svizzerra! (CHOW, SVEET-say-rah). (3) "Heritage"
Page: architecture, Confederation, currency, diversity, exhibit,
federal system, festival, franc, international, solidarity.
Intended to spark curiosity about Switzerland and its people, this unit
can lead to many topics for student research. To get your class started,
you may want to pose the following questions. Or, you may prefer to tell
them these basic facts before distributing the unit materials: How
big (how small!) is Switzerland? Switzerland measures about 220 miles
from east to west, and 140 miles from north to south. It's roughly one
tenth the size of California. What are the country's natural resources?
The Swiss have few natural resources water power, forests, and
pastureland, for example. They make their economy work by importing raw
materials that they turn into valuable products. In what part of their
country do most Swiss people live? Almost 70 percent of Switzerland
is mountainous. That doesn't leave its 7.3 million people much room for
homes! Thousands of their towns fill a narrow east-west plateau between
the Alps and the Jura Mountains. What religion(s) do the people practice?
About 40 percent of Switzerland's people are Protestants; about 46 percent
are Roman Catholics. In general, how did the Swiss people form their
nation? Over the years, Switzerland was formed by many independent
cantons (states) that gradually united with one another. Today, Switzerland
includes 26 cantons.
TIPS FOR USE
As mentioned in the introduction to this Page, the Q-and-A at the top
of each student text page is a pointer to that page's learning rationale.
You may want to rephrase each Q-and-A, use it as a discussion starter,
or ignore it until you are ready to review the page.
Page 1/ "Homeland." Prompt
students to look for and list the various types of sources mentioned
on the "Homeland" page (atlas, encyclopedia, Internet sites).
If such sources are accessible in your classroom/school, you might have
groups of students use them, to "discover" additional info on
such topics as Switzerland's climate regions, its people's language groups,
. You may also want to tell students that there are many local
dialects in Switzerland especially among its German-speaking citizens
Discussion: Switzerland has three official languages and
four national languages. (Romansch is the fourth. See the "Heritage"
Page.) Ask students: How did Switzerland's multilingual policy develop
over time? How does that experience compare with official-language policies
in the USA? What might be the pluses and minuses of each country's policy?
Also: Does the name "Jura" sound familiar? Tell
students: The Jurassic Age was named for the Jura Mountains in Switzerland.
That's because of all the dinosaur bones that archaeologists found in
the Juras, in the 19th century!
. At one point, Lee mentions seeing
a Web-Site Page with info on the cantons. It actually exists! Just
visit the About.ch
Site to see the cantons map that the librarian showed them
Dows' American Mom has a Swiss ancestor. How many Swiss people
have moved to the USA, over time? About 400,000, according to The National
Center for Swiss-American Studies, Inc.
Page 2/ "People." On this
page, the Dows do a great deal of traveling, starting with their "free"
bike ride in Zurich. (The free rides are for real! They're available in
Zurich and other Swiss cities, where borrowers must show an ID and leave
a refundable deposit.) Students interested in environmental protection
will probably be the first to catch on to the reasoning behind the Zurich
bike plan: Cars pollute. Switzerland is deeply concerned about reducing
pollution in other ways, too. The Swiss are now constructing two huge
rail tunnels through the Alps, in order to keep heavy freight trucks off
roads that pass through Switzerland, linking northern to southern Europe
Discussion: How might environmental pollution and global
warming affect life in Switzerland? Clue: Start with the possibility of
Also: This page touches on a slew of other culture-related
topics that students may want to research: the impact of geographic features
on Swiss occupations (cheesemaking, engineering, tourism); the
role of Swiss leaders in the Protestant Reformation; and the forms
that democracy takes at Switzerland's national, cantonal, and community
. Note: Lee's reference to CERN is an allusion to what
is popularly known as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. The
group's name has changed since it was founded in 1952. But the acronym
CERN based on the French version of the original name ("Conseil
Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire")
remains the group's global name-tag.
Page 3/ "Heritage."
The "Heritage" Page begins with a recap of two major Swiss themes
(multilingualism and democracy), then uses those themes to raise a major
topic in Swiss cultural studies namely: whether or not all Swiss
share a common cultural heritage. Be sure that students note the steps
by which the Dows develop their argument: (a) laying out evidence that
might support the opposite point of view, (b) offering a counter-argument,
and (c) defending their position that there is, indeed, a single, commonly
shared Swiss culture. It's not a minor debate: The Swiss argue that question
. Discussion: Can people from different
cultural backgrounds share citizenship in the same democracy without
developing and sharing a "national" culture, too?
Also: You may want students to visit and read the opening
paragraphs of the Swiss
Constitution on-line, to find the stirring passage cited by Kim.
(Note: Getting there requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®)
Students who research "Nobel Prize Winners" in Microsoft®
Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000 will get an eye-opener! Since the time
of Dunant (a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901), the Swiss have
acquired an incredibly high number of Nobel prizes, per-capita
And here's LE's brief version of the Henry Dunant story, which you may
want to share with students:
HENRY DUNANT, HERO
. Citizen of Geneva, Switzerland
. He probably never thought, "I'm a hero."
But he was.
On June 27, 1859, Dunant was traveling in Italy,
when he came to a place called Solferino. He knew that two armies had
recently fought a battle there. But he was horrified to see thousands
of wounded soldiers still lying on the field, with no one to help them.
Dunant tended as many soldiers as he could. Then, after returning home,
he wrote a book, A Memory of Solferino. In it, he urged Europe's
leaders to form an organization for the "relief of the wounded."
His idea caught on. And in 1864, the Red Cross was founded in Geneva.
Its headquarters are still there. So is the Red
Cross museum. On the inside, a banner displays these words: "Each
person has a shared responsibility to humanity." Henry Dunant
. He lived it.
Page 4/ "Treasure Hunt" (Evaluation).
LE strongly recommends that you use the "Treasure Hunt" Page
as an open-book quiz or a small-group activity. One reason for this recommendation:
The "Treasure Hunt" Page demands very careful reading and close
attention to details in Part B, especially. Another good reason
for small-group efforts would be the spontaneous discussion that some
questions are likely to prompt Item 4 in Part A, for example.
Suggested Answers: The short-answer questions on this page
have been distributed as follows: Items 1-5 deal with the "Heritage"
Page; Items 6-10, with the "Homeland" Page; and Items 11-15,
with the "People" Page. Part A: 1-F (should be the Swiss
franc); 2-F (should be 1901); 3-T; 4-O; 5-F. Note: Item 5 may sound
as though it's an opinion, but it rests on a false assertion. See, for
example, the excerpt from the Swiss constitution at the end of the "Heritage"
Page. Part B: 6-c; 7-c; 8-a; 9-b; 10-c; 11-b; 12-b; 13-a; 14-a;
15-c. Part C: Answers will vary.
The Embassy of Switzerland has a
terrific, fact-packed Site
. Also highly informative: "Swissworld"
And, while you're on-line, don't miss LE's own senior high school unit
"Switzerland: Scaling the Heights".
That unit's "Map Page" shows Switzerland's language regions.
Finally: Some tourist books offer valuable insights into a country's
traditions and customs. Mark Honan's Switzerland (a Lonely Planet
publication) is such a book. See the introductory pages of his commentaries
on Zurich, Geneva, and Lucerne, for example. It has good maps and a number
of topical "sidebars," too.
Switzerland Student Text Page
No. 1 | Switzerland Student Text Page No.
2 | Switzerland Student Text Page No.
3 | Switzerland Evaluation Page | Switzerland
Map Page | Switzerland Data Page |