UK and the EU

Lesson objective
Learn how the EU works and what it may mean for the UK when it ceases to be a member

Lesson plan - UK and the EU

Introduction (five minutes)

At the end of the lesson you will be able to describe in general terms how the EU works and what effect it may have on the UK to be no longer part of it.

Whole class discussion

Some general questions to get us started.

    Where is it based?
    What does it do?
    Who runs it?
    When did it start?  (etc)
    What do we get out of it?

Main part of lesson

How the EU works (10 minutes)

The best way to describe it is to compare it with our own government. Note, if class has already studied this topic, what follows can be covered very briefly.

Our government, any democratic form of government, has three branches. What are they?

Legislature: what is that and what does it do?
Executive:  what is that and what does it do?
Judiciary: what is that and what does it do?

The EU has a similar set of bodies

The legislature is the…….. European Parliament / Council of Ministers
The executive is the……..  European Commission
The judiciary is the………..European Court of Justice

Group work
(10 minutes)
Work in pairs using the worksheets and be ready to explain to the class what each of these bodies is and what it does.

After say five minutes:

Now join another pair working on another institution and share your findings.

Plenary review

So now we have learned what the EU is made up of. The UK has been a member for 45 years but is likely to leave in March 2019.  This is a controversial topic. Some students will be pleased we are leaving. Others may be unhappy about leaving. 

On a separate occasion you may want to arrange for a debate on the outcome of the referendum, the risks and the possible advantages.

What the EU means to the UK while we are still a member and what may change when we leave (10 minutes)

Now let’s look more closely at what it means to us in our ordinary lives. 

Construct a day in the life of a European citizen.

This could be done as a WebQuest or in class as a whole group discussion.

List on whiteboard some of the things we all do ...

Wash: EU directive on drinking water
Eat: EU policies on farm products and fish
Shopping: EU directive on sell by date
Work: EU free movement of people / limits on working hours / minimum holidays
Travel: EU directive on compensation for lateness
Holiday:  EU directive on bathing water / clean beaches
Waste:  EU directives on recycling
Safety: EU’s Europol

So you can see it has quite an impact.

Now think of what advantages there may be to the UK in leaving. Are there any?

Full control over our laws

Full control over our borders

Full control over the £15 billion we pay to the European Union as members every year.

Freedom to negotiate separate trade arrangements with non European countries.

See more about Brexit

Plenary close
(5 minutes)
Worksheet with 10 questions based on the lesson

If time:
Class vote on “The pros and cons for the UK when it leaves the EU in March 2019”
Worksheets European Commission
European Parliament
Council of Ministers
EU: 10 Questions
WebQuest: A day in the life of the EU
References  What is the EU? – Main institutions
The UK in the EU
Everyday EU – Europe around the clock
EU guide – What is the EU?
Migration myths – True or False quiz
EU border controls – Schengen 

Programme of Study

Department for Education

Citizenship studies, GCSE subject content

February 2015

KS4 lesson plan - UK in the EU