A free pack of resources from the Swiss Embassy may get your pupils enthusiastic about obscure sports, says Mike Levy
To help British children get fitter and be more concerned about their health, the Swiss Embassy in London has produced Exploring Sport, a free resource pack aimed at making sport exciting and enjoyable, and sparking more interest among secondary pupils.
The pack introduces six unusual sports - three of them British and the others Swiss in origin. From the UK come Gaelic Football, Stoolball and Ultimate Frisbee; the three Swiss sports are Tchoukball, Schwingen and a Gigathlon. The aim seems to be to offer children sports they are not likely to have come across before - not even the most esoteric digital sports channel is likely to have covered a winning moment in Schwingen.
Exploring Sport was launched in April by the Swiss Ambassador and two Chelsea FC Academy players. Chelsea FC is a sponsor of the pack, which has already been snapped up by 3,000 schools across the UK.
The pack includes a brightly coloured set of A4 game cards, a teachers' resource pack and a jolly wallchart highlighting the six sports. The double-sided game cards set out the rules of each game and the equipment you need to play it, and contain simple illustrations to bring the sporting techniques alive.
Schwingen, we are told, is one of the oldest Swiss sports, and was developed as a competition between mountain farmers as a measure of strength and skill. The sport is a form of wrestling, played on a "platz" - an eight-metre circle covered in wood shavings (in the traditional form).
Participants wear knee-length cloth trousers and wrestlers use these to grip and throw the other player off balance.
The game card outlines a set of warm-up exercises and a set of fun tasks aimed at developing key skills. These include the press-up challenge: students face each other in a press-up position and the aim is to pull their opponent's arms away from them so they fall off the mat.
On the UK sport cards, students are introduced to the delights of Ultimate Frisbee. This is a mixture of a non-contact sport and an enjoyable team game. The rules are clearly laid out: in teams of seven, the aim is to score points by catching the Frisbee in your opponent's zone. The pack contains a set of feedback forms, which also test children's knowledge of the principles of sport (eg "How does a lack of respect for rules and for others affect a game or competition?").
The accompanying teacher's resource book is thorough and covers a 12-lesson scheme of work, which can be introduced into PE, PSHE or citizenship. The lessons introduce each sport and show how the activities can be absorbed into the curriculum. There are lessons on personal fitness and suggestions about teaching nutrition and cardiovascular exercises.
The embassy has produced an interesting set of resources, which open up a whole new set of activities that might (just might) interest children in a sport they had not considered before and, by the way, helps us learn a bit more about Switzerland.
* The pack is written by Rapport Learning, First floor, 6-7 Buckingham Street, London WC2N 6BU
Tel: 0845 230 1060
Fax: 0845 230 1070