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Teaching about the European Union

Lessons, Activities and Other Resources Shed Light the EU Financial Crisis

Greece and Ireland have received financial bailouts from the EU. Portugal and Spain may require aid in the near future. What do bailouts mean for the euro and for the unity of the European Economic Community? These lessons, activities, and other resources shed light the EU financial crisis and explain its potential impact of the global economy.


Lesson Plans

What Can Third Graders Learn about Cooperation from the European Union? ( PDF, 2 pages, 18.5 KB)
Third graders explore reasons for the EU and identify lessons that can be applied to classroom group work.

All about Money ( PDF, 43 pages, 1.69 MB)
This curriculum unit for students in grades 5-6 covers The International Monetary Fund (IMF), international trade, and cooperation. The download includes and teacher’s aid and glossary.

Europe in Twelve Lessons
Students in grades 5-8 learn what the European Union does, what it’s for, and how it works.

The Value of a Nation's Currency Goes Beyond its Price ( PDF, 6 pages, 31.1 KB)
Students in grade 6 analyze American dollars, French francs, and the Euro to understand each country’s cultural values and to appreciate what France gained and lost by adopting the Euro. They can be adapted for any EU nation.

Panorama of the European Union ( PDF, 1 page, 13.3 KB)
Students in grade 6 work in small groups to collect information about the European Union in an EU scavenger hunt.

European Union Mapquest ( PDF, 4 pages, 134 KB)
Students in grade 6, practice map skills and locate and label countries in the European Union.

Teaching the European Union through the Five Themes of Geography ( PDF, 2 pages, 19.4 KB)
Students in grades 6-12 explore the EU and its current issues to make world connections.

Model European Council Simulation ( PDF, 14 pages, 46.2 KB)
Students in grades 6-12 determine EU country positions on current events and issues.

The Costs of Adopting a New Currency ( PDF, 1 page, 25.1 KB)
Students in grades 9-12 explore possible negative outcomes of adopting a common currency.

Money Changes Everything ( PDF, 25 pages, 437 KB)
Students in grades 9-12 compare the purchasing power of the Euro and U.S. currency.

It’s All Greek to Me: Understanding the Debt Crisis in Europe
Students in grades 9-12 examine the European crisis and develop financial literacy by familiarizing themselves with key terms and creating a math or finance problem that demonstrates how a term works.

Western Union: Debating Benefits and Challenges of EU Membership
Students in grades 9-12 work in pairs or small groups to research the European Union and hold a conference to debate the admittance of other potential EU countries.

Money Matters Curriculum ( PDF, 49 pages, 1.26 MB)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Money Matters: The Importance of Global Cooperation Students in grades 9-12 learn about globalization, international economic cooperation, and the work of the IMF. Teachers can download a guide..

Thinking Globally: Effective Lessons for Teaching about the Independent World Economy ( PDF, 11 Pages, 140KB)
High school students learn the basics of international economics in lessons and activities from the IMF and the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE). Teachers can order a free CD-ROM of the eight lessons or download them separately.


IMF: Where in the World and What in the World Is Money?
Students in grades 5-6 can play this game to find out what form money has taken in the past. Teachers can download a guide.

Trading Around the World
Students in grades 5-8 can play this game to experience the challenges and excitement of international trade. Teachers can download a guide.

The IMF in Action: Monetary Mania!
Students in grades 9-12 test their knowledge about money and macroeconomics in this online game show. Teachers can download a guide.

Other Resources

Thinking Globally: Effective Lessons for Teaching about the Interdependent World Economy
Teachers can order a free CD-ROM of eight secondary IMF and the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) lesson plans and activities.

Euro Economics: An Online Textbook
This website is an introduction to economics for teachers and students in high school grades and higher education.

European Online resource Guide
Teachers and students can examine the development of the European Union and European Monetary Union. Section II focuses on the European Monetary Union.

Introduction to Trade
A PowerPoint presentation and three fact sheets for grades 7-12.

IMF: EconEd Online
Educational activities and resources on the history of money, macroeconomics, importance of international monetary cooperation, and value of global trade.

Money Matters Curriculum Teachers’ Guide
Lessons for grades 9-12.


Money Matters, an IMF Exhibit -- The Importance of Global Cooperation
An online exhibit describing the evolution of world monetary policies. The sections can be used in business, history, geography, and economics classes.

  • Conflict and Cooperation (1871-1944)
  • Destruction and Reconstruction (1945-1958)
  • System in Crisis (1959-1971)
  • Reinventing the System (1972-1981)
  • Debt and Transition (1981-1989)
  • Globalization and Integration (1989-1999)


European Debt Crisis—Trace government spending, GDP and other factors in European nations’ debt in “Debt Rising in Europe” and “Europe’s Web of Debt.”
New York Times infographics are listed below. Also check the multimedia archive and relevant blogs, such as Economix.

Debt Rising in Europe
An interactive map illustrating Europe’s problems with credit and debt.

Europe's Web of Debt
A graphic showing the interrelatedness of Europe’s debt.


Inside Money Video
Students in grades 9-12 can view this video and learn about cooperative solutions from the IMF. Teachers can download a guide.

Price Stability: Why is it Important for You?
The European Central Bank provides high school students with an 8-minute cartoon, a pupil's leaflet, explaining price stability in simple terms, and a more detailed teacher's booklet. Teachers can download the cartoon ISO image and burn it to a blank DVD.

Last Updated: January 30, 2018


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