Teaching the EU

There are endless ways to tie the Chocolate Simulation into your curriculum. If your class has studied the history of World War II and the Cold War, for example, the simulation is a great way to wrap up the topic, showing how far things have come along. Better to be arguing over chocolate after all! Or you might tie it into a discussion of colonialism, globalization, or multi-culturalism. Below are some resources for teaching the European Union. Please let us know if you discover something that ought to be added to this list.

The European Union in general

Recommended by UW-Madison EU expert Alex Caviedes: “The movie…THE BICYCLE THIEF which deals with the post-war devastation, desperation, unemployment, etc. that was rampant in Europe after the war and would have made cooperation and prosperity such a central concern.”

Europa Kid’s Corner

Europa Teachers’ Corner

EU in the US

      • – Aimed at European middle school-aged kids. Has some interactive games.

European Union Politics and Policies

The “About the EU” section of the official EU website provides a general overview of the political structure of the European Union and how it works.

The Wikipedia entry for the Council of the European Union is also helpful.

Europe in 12 Lessons” offers an easy-to-read overview of the EU. More appropriate for older students, but could be useful for middle school. Excellent for instructors.

The EU publishes a “Guide for Americans” that is available as a brochure and in pdf format.

Other helpful online resources:

EUabc.com – allows you to search by letter through a dictionary of words related to the EU

Glossary of European Union concepts, acronyms, & jargon

Acronyms List

EU Observer – offers current news about the EU

Anti-EU Sentiment and Nationalism

Just as the U.S. has interest groups against a strong federal government, the European Union has similar groups, including political parties (such as UKIP in the United Kingdom), dedicated to protesting against what they perceive as an overly powerful EU bureaucracy.

Since the Chocolate Directive occurred the EU has experienced a windstorm of anti-EU sentiment all culminating in ‘Brexit’ and ongoing populist uprisings. Even before the referendum to leave the EU, The United Kingdom was notorious for groups which often published websites to ‘educate’ the public. Though the claims made are often commical, the central issue is serious to many: the threatened loss of local culture. This is indeed much of what kept the chocolate battle raging for 30 years. If you take up this topic in class, be sure to visit the following websites:

Europhobia -“The musings of a non-partisan one-time Eurosceptic turned pro-European and his far better-informed friends”

The Road to Euro Serfdom -“A perspective on the abolition of the countries of Europe and with it the rights and freedoms of a whole continent of people.”

It is clear how with pervasive sentiments like those mentioned in the blogs above that the Leave Campaign was able to capitalize on these fears. For more information on Brexit be sure to check out the following:

The non-Brits guide to Brexit

Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU

Lesson Plans


New York Times – The Learning Network

Europe’s Last Resort (Grades to 6-8, 9-12)
Understanding the European Union’s Position on the Use of Force in Iraq
In this lesson, students learn about the statement issued by the European Union with regards to the use of military force in Iraq, and discuss it and related issues in a “fishbowl” discussion. Each student then writes a position paper supporting the position of one of the countries mentioned in the article or that of an independent person or organization.

Mint Condition (Grades to 6-8, 9-12)
Exploring the Monetary and Cultural Value of the Euro
In this lesson, students investigate the old currencies used by the twelve countries adopting the euro in 2002. They then explore the national identity of those countries through the symbols preserved on the ‘national face’ of the new euro currency.