Unit 3: The EU and Brexit

Overview: Introduction to the EU, the causes and consequences of Brexit, some contemporary issues in the EU. Day by day is broken down below or here is access to the whole folder.

Notes: The work listed below was created during remote instruction so all the work is on Google Docs. There are also videos I made to help students work asynchronously. Listed out in terms of “days” but many can be consolidated depending on the class format. The boxes/fields in the docs are meant for students to fill in their own responses. Some may already have text in them from working through the questions with my students after the fact. This work was done in December 2020 so it may already be outdated.

Key concepts focused on in this unit: Sovereignty, interdependence, legitimacy

Global Political Challenges: Borders, Identity

Other global politics terms: Populism, liberalism, free trade, nationalism

Unit Question: Why did the UK vote to leave the European Union?

Final Assessment: Adapted Paper 2 task with a specific focus on Brexit and the EU

Day 1: Background

Historical background that led to the creation of the EU along with an introduction to the concept of liberalism

Day 2: What is the EU?

Introductory video I made to summarize old work and introduce day 2 work (12 minutes)

What is the EU? reading and work

Day 3: EU Core Ideas

Reading and classwork on key ideas related to costs/benefits to membership and concepts of sovereignty

Day 4: Why free trade?

Vocabulary and activity around free trade. Fun podcast to listen to for students.

Day 5: Why did the UK join the EU?

Historical motivations and benefits of joining

Day 6: Problems in the EU

A look at the rise of illiberalism in the EU, particularly in eastern Europe

Day 7: Structure of the UK Parliament

Intro video I made to review some ideas on this topic (15 minutes)

Quick summary handout comparing and contrasting US Congress with UK Parliament

Days 8 and 9: Brexit Intro and Overview

Great reading summarizing the Brexit debate

Activity on watching videos and summarizing the Brexit debate

Days 10 and 11: What does Brexit mean?

A look at global trends of populism and other interpretations of the Brexit vote.

My video introduction to the work which has three parts (15 minutes)

What does Brexit mean_ Part 1

What does Brexit mean_ Part 2

What does Brexit mean_ Part 3

Day 12: Brexit Political Cartoons

Cartoon analysis, Paper 1 skill practice (in the future, should have more balanced selection of cartoons)

Day 13: Conflicts on the Irish Border 

Why the Irish border is a central sticking point in the Brexit negotiations (individual and group work)

Days 14 and 15: Brexit outcome and wrap up work

Brexit Wrap Up

Brexit wrap up Borders work

(With more time I would have done more on Scotland and borders in general)

Final Assessment: Adapted Paper 2 task with a specific focus on Brexit and the EU

Student Sample 1

Student Sample 2

Student Sample 3

Other Resources

The World: A Brief Introduction by Richard Haas has a nicely written historical summary on Europe that leads up to the current moment and should provide a good context (pp. 67-81).

“Political Cartoon Analysis” Understanding Brexit


Now that Brexit has been (mostly) negotiated, here is a well designed image to show some relationships