What you might need to know

For this final lesson, we look at the concept of team work in the European Union. As we mentioned in previous lessons, the EU is a big club. So how can all countries work together? It is difficult and it involves a lot of compromising.

On your own, you might be able to take the decisions exactly the way you like. However, on your own, you are a small country coming up to negotiate with China, the USA or India. Countries that have joined the EU know that and have weighed up the pros and cons. They know that they will have to compromise a lot to get a decision through at the European level but they think they have a better chance on the international stage as a member of the EU to protect what matters to them. For example, the EU bans the sale of chickens washed with chlorine. The US allows it. If Germany on its own was trying to impose no chlorine-washed chickens to the US, it wouldn’t be successful but as part of the EU, it is. It’s even more relevant for smaller countries like Ireland!

For the children, this lesson uses the book the Day the Crayons Quit to convey the idea that team work can be very beneficial. As an activity, we get the children to use building blocks in groups of 5 or 6 to build a tower with different colours. We’re trying to get them to work together and see how easy or difficult it can be to agree in a group, just like in the EU!