Assignment Suggestions

Getting to know the European Union

These two BBC pages show how the EU works. It should be noted that the voting structure has changed.

Long but in depth guide to the European Union, written specifically for Americans: 

Background and position

Teams should get to know the country they represent. On the Position Paper page, students are instructed to research their country and include pertinent information in a 1-2 page paper which states where their country stands on the chocolate issue. Since position papers should be shared with the other country teams, the rest of the class can learn basic background information on any country.

A perhaps better alternative to combining country background information with the position would be to assign a simple background paper or poster. These could be hung around the classroom for other teams to review. They should include the basic country information suggested on the position paper page:
– population
– major industries
– history of its membership in the EU (how long has it been a member, under what circumstances did it join)
– chocolate-related traditions
– ties or conflicts with non-European cocoa producing nations
– how much chocolate does it produce?
– how much chocolate does the average citizen eat?

If this approach is taken, position papers should be shorter (one page maximum), clearly and concisely describing the position their country plans to take on the issue. These can be read during the tour de table if a second session is held. You may want to remind students that the position paper should state the best possible outcome for their country. Even though they might be willing to negotiate on some specific points, they probably don’t want to disclose that in their position paper. Much like a poker game, it’s better not to show your whole hand.

Grading the simulation

Participation is key to the success of a simulation. If students have never done this sort of thing in class, it can be difficult for them to ‘get into it’ because it is so new and different. In our experience, once students understand what’s expected, they participate with enthusiasm (really). The trick is getting them started. Grading participation, especially from the very beginning, has been quite successful. How you go about doing this is dependent on your particular situation, but here are a few suggestions: 1) Have teams record all communication with teammates and other teams in a journal; 2) Allow teams to research their country in a computer lab during class time; 3) Hold an informal negotiation and debate session in class. In the end, the best prepared teams will be obvious during the actual simulation.

Overall, grading should reflect the amount of time preparation for the simulation requires. The most common complaint by students is that their simulation grade, in comparison to other project grades, didn’t count for much considering how much time and effort they put into it.