We’ve already wrote about My Romania and My Slovakia. It was relatively easy to present each on our own, but how to make a workshop combining them? Eastern European & Central European, our countries have more in common than we’ve thought. While creating a puzzle for the pupils in Istituto Fille Maria Ausiliatrice (IFMA), we learned that both of them have seven UNESCO sites; we reminded ourselves that they share borders with Hungary and Ukraine, that both are new democracies born at the end of the 20th century (Romania in 1989, Slovakia in 1993) and both have notable Hungarian and Roma minorities.
But there are also many differences: one has the euro, the other is still outside the euro zone. One separated from the Czech Republic with a “velvet divorce” – a peaceful agreement between countries to separate in 1993-, the other was torn apart by a violent revolution in 1989. Between June and December 2016, Slovakia held the Presidency of the European Council, Romania has to wait for 2019. Tatra Mountains vs. Carpathian Mountains, but relatively similar in height.
This and many other information were included in our previous individual presentations and then they became the instruments for the puzzle for pupils, divided in three categories – one for each country and a third one for what they have in common. Using the notes they took in class, the Geography Atlas, a list of key words in English and Italian and logical thinking, the pupils solved the puzzle in small groups and seemed to enjoy learning by doing. And we, as “teachers”, were happy to bring our countries closer to them.