Notes of Lessons: History, Class II

Notes of Lessons: History, Class II

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Group: History Class II Age: 8-11 Time: 20-30 minutes

By C. N. Heath
The Parents’ Review, 1903, pp. 793-794

The Lake-Dwellers Of Switzerland


I. To maintain and increase the children’s interest in Switzerland, which country is included in the school geography for this term.

II. To establish relations with the past.

III. To give the children a living idea of the customs and habits of the prehistoric people of Switzerland.


Step I.—Tell the children we will talk to-day of the pre-historic people of Switzerland. The children then to look at the map and see what they think might happen to the low-lying lakes of that country. Illustrate by examples of local lakes if necessary.

Step II.—Relate the discovery made by the people of Meilen, in 1853, on the shores of Lake Zurich. Show a map, indicating the positions of the discovered dwellings, on the blackboard. Draw from them the conclusion arrived at by means of the objects found, and the name given to these settlers. Make the children observe that these dwellings are only found on the low-lying lake, and draw from them the reason.

Step III.—Describe the position of the dwellings and get from the children the materials used besides the piles in building the houses. Show picture of a reconstructed dwelling. Mention various objects found, and read the following account of a “lake lady’s” dress:—“A ‘lady of the lake’ in full dress would seem to have made an imposing show. An undergarment of fine linen was girded at the waist by a broad belt of inlaid or embossed bronze-work. Over the shoulders was thrown a woolen cloak, fastened with bronze clasps, or pins, whilst neck, arms, and ankles were decked with a great store of trinkets. The whole was set off by a diadem of long pins with large heads, beautifully chiseled, and inlaid with beads of metal or glass, these pins being stuck through a sort of leathern fillet, which bound up the hair.”

Step IV.—Describe the colonies on Lake Pfäffikon with a diagram on the board to show the three successive settlements, the two lower ones being well preserved by fire. Also diagrams of pots imbedded in the mud.

Step V.—Mention the plants, grains, seeds, fruits, and materials discovered in the settlements, and draw from the children why the presence of nephrite hatchets proves that the lake-dwellers had tradings with the East. Tell how the “pile-builders” were not only fishers, but hunted, tilled the ground and kept horses and cattle.

Step VI.—Give the possible dates of the three ages of lake-dwellers; building themselves tombs on land, the first sign of their becoming land-dwellers. The evidences of their existing till the beginning of the early historic period. Get from the children the means of arriving at that conclusion.

Step VII.—Get the children to recapitulate the lesson.