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For the Classroom

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© European Community

For students and teachers of the EU, from kindergarten to college levels, this page provides interactive websites, statistics tools, lesson plans, and project ideas for hot EU-Illinois topics.

High School Competition

Euro Challenge

The Euro Challenge is an exciting educational opportunity for high school students (grades 9 and 10) to learn about the European Union and the euro. In a nationwide competition, student teams make presentations answering specific questions about the European economy as a whole and the single currency, the euro. They also pick one member country of the euro area to illustrate an economic-related challenge and identify a policy response to that challenge. Teams compete in regional rounds and the final round in NYC for cash awards and an exciting trip to Washington D.C., made possible by The Moody's Foundation.

Essay Contest

This year’s EUC High School Essay Contest is all about “Competition & Cooperation.” The European Union is a major force on the world stage; its member states collaborate extensively both within and outside of its borders. These relationships are built not only through high-level politics and trade, but also in everyday society: sports, arts, culture, science, and research all play a role. Collaborative efforts are evolving amidst the current financial crisis and other global events, such as the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Participants should discuss in an essay of 800-1200 words what it really means for European countries to compete and cooperate within the EU, across the Atlantic, and beyond! Submission deadline: December 17, 2012.

Illinois Translation Competition

The Center for Translation Studies and the European Union Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will hold a translation competition from EU languages into English for Illinois high school students in the spring of 2013. The winners will be brought to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus for a one-day event, 2013 Translation Day at Illinois, on May 2, 2013.

European Union Day

The European Union Center is pleased to announce the Twelfth Annual EU Day event on February 15, 2013. Highlights of last year's event included the annual "State of the European Union" address, delivered by His Excellency João Vale de Almeida, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States.

European Union History

Introduction to the EU (PPT)

A powerpoint slideshow about the history, structure, and process of the European Union prepared by Prof. Joseph Jupille, courtesy of the EUCE.

EU at a Glance booklet

Downloadable 8-page booklet summarizing the main purpose and functions of the EU. Formatted in bookfold format for easy reading. Provided by the EUCE.

Interactive Web Tools

European Commission Audiovisual Service

This website features many photos, recordings, and videos of footage relating to European news and archives. The website is targeted at media professionals, but the material could be used in a teaching setting. Free registration with the website is required.

Learn more: European Union, news, multimedia, videos


This extension from the popular Youtube website groups video clips together that help to explain EU policies, organizations, and activities. English, German, and French videos are also available.

Learn more: European Union policy, multimedia, videos

European Navigator  - The authoritative multimedia reference on the history of Europe

The European Navigator includes over 16,000 documents, cartoons, maps, and other media items on the process of European integration. Some resources are directly targeted towards K-16 teachers, and topics pertinent to the EU/Illinois relationship, such as coal and energy use, are prominently included.

The Great Corn Adventure

This interactive webpage teaches youngsters about the intricacies of corn in Illinois, from the growing process to the history of corn.

Learn more: Illinois corn, corn history

Quick Links for Kids

The Europa website maintains a collection of interactive games, for kids and adults, that test one's knowledge of the EU. Also included are additional resources for teachers and for general research on the EU. Here are some favorites that relate to Illinois-EU themes:

Learn more: agriculture, farming, euro, European Union, energy

Tradestats Express

This website is interesting to work with; providing the desired combination of Illinois with the European Union, information about trading and exports is represented geographically and graphically. This site would be helpful for teachers and students looking for an interactive way to see how Illinois and the EU are economically connected.

Learn more: statistics, Illinois/European Union connections, Illinois economy, trade, exports, imports, maps, charts

U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Data

The Economic Research Service provides data regarding food, farming, natural resources and rural America. In addition to providing information about domestic agriculture, it also offers trade and international market-based data pertinent to Illinois-E.U. exports.

Learn more: statistics, Illinois/European Union connections, Illinois economy, trade, exports, imports, maps, charts

U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agricultural Information Network

The Foreign Agricultural Service provides two search engines to research information agricultural economy, products and issues in foreign countries since 1995.

Learn more: statistics, Illinois/European Union connections, Illinois economy, trade, exports, imports, maps, charts

Euro Economics

This interactive website is an excellent introduction to teachers and students grades 9 and up on the economics of the Euro. Designed by the University of North Carolina's EU Center for Euro Challenge, the materials are helpful for those with independent interests in the European Union and for incorporation in the classroom.

Learn more: statistics, Illinois/European Union connections, Illinois economy, trade, exports, imports, maps, charts

Lesson Plans, Teaching Ideas, and EU/IL Themes

EU K-12 Lesson Plans

These lesson plans from the Network of European Union Centers of Excellence (EUCE) are tailored to students of different ages, and may be browsed by subject or grade.

Learn more: education, lesson plans, foreign language instruction, K-12 lessons, teaching resources

Teaching the European Union: Grades 9-12

From the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States, this website offers up-to-date teaching tools about contemporary Europe for grades 9-12.

Learn more: education, secondary education, informational brochures

Multimedia Educational Websites

This collection of resources developed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for European Studies includes multimedia websites on socio-cultural topics related to the EU, and classroom ideas and materials for teaching about European cultures, history, and society.

Illinois History Teacher – Illinois Periodicals Online

This collection of periodicals features pieces on different European immigrant groups. Browse sixteen years' worth of articles on Illinois history as it relates to European immigration. Many articles include curriculum materials for teachers to use in the classroom.

Learn more: European Immigrants, Bulgaria, coal mining, Germany, Ireland, Scandinavia, southern Europe, eastern Europe, Poland, Judaism, Sweden, Italy, England, Hull House, France, Slovakia

Bridge to the Future: Enlarging the European Union

This collection of lesson plans teach students about Europe's role in respect to politics, culture, and economics in the interconnected world.

Comparative Publications:

Lead a discussion about the European Parliament using these two documents. Both describe the European Parliament and its roles; one was prepared by the United States Congressional Research service, the other was prepared by the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States.

Learn more: European Parliament, U.S. Congress, EU power, government

Intercultural Dialogue: Best Practices at Community Level

This publication (pdf) includes 27 successful programs enacted by EU member states throughout the world. From cultural exchange to immigration and integration issues, these accounts headed by teachers and students offer examples of how the classroom can become a place of exchange and dialogue with members of the EU.

Learn more: artistic creation, cultural exchange, social inclusion, heritage, migrants, science and technology, diversity, democracy, school partnership, integration, education, identity, Europe, European Union

Coal Energy: Lesson Plans and Resource Guide (pdf)

This recent guide includes classroom activities that introduce the student to coal uses, coal mining, and comparisons of energy resources. Lesson plans are designed for elementary, middle, and high school level students.

Learn more: coal industry, coal miners

Illinois and Coal

Several lesson plans for secondary education about the current coal industry in Illinois are available from Kentucky Coal Education Project. These materials could be incorporated in classrooms, or the background data could be used as a comparison for issues in the European Union.

Coal in Illinois

This introductory document provides information about the coal industry, including details from the number of coal miners in Illinois to the companies in other states and regions who import Illinois coal. Particularly helpful for students, this document serves as a starting point for learning more about Illinois coal and the different organizations who promote this essential natural resource in Illinois.

Learn more: coal and Illinois, coal industry, coal miners, coal imports

Teacher Workshops and Events

Transatlantic Educator's Dialogue (T.E.D.)

The Transatlantic Educators Dialogue (T.E.D.) provides an opportunity for educators in the United States and the European Union to come together online for shared exploration and examination of a variety of educational topics as they relate to issues of identity and difference, with a particular emphasis on representations of "the other" in the classroom.

This experience of educational diplomacy and exploration from multiple perspectives will enable educators to overcome cultural misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Summer Curriculum Development Workshop

The University of Illinois and The European Union Center (EUC) invites K-12 and community college educators to take part in this 2 1/2-day workshop to develop a more effective curriculum on the Mediterranean and Europe. These materials may be incorporated into a variety of courses, such as foreign language, world geography, world cultures, world/US history, politics, economics, and business. While all K-16 teachers are welcome, the curriculum materials are geared mainly towards high school and community college education. The workshop will feature presentations from University of Illinois faculty and other specialists.

The topic of this year's workshop is "The Timeless MEDITERRANEAN and the New European Union: Transnational Spaces and Integration".

Summer Study Tour

The European Union Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pleased to send 8-9 K-12educators on a summer study tour to Europe, funded by the European Commission's Getting to Know Europe grant. View the details of the 2012 Summer Study Tour here.

Teacher's Corner Blog

The Teachers’ Corner is the University of Illinois European Union Center's blog devoted to teachers! You can expect to find news and information about annual competitions for high school students, enrichment opportunities for teachers, recent finds and resources that you can incorporate in your classrooms, and highlights from our Center’s annual events.