“Can you imagine developing an EU simulation game for primary school kids?” Our initial reaction – thinking to ourselves: no, we can’t. Luckily, we reconsidered, because we found that yes, it actually works very well! The results are part of the “EU box for primary schools” for teachers in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 2013, and now you can download them or order a proper game set on the website of the EU funded project PEP (Simulation games for action-oriented teaching about the EU in primary education).
In the course of the PEP project context the game materials were revised fundamentally, 15 test runs were facilitated, and the learning success of students was evaluated in a research study. The results of the study show an increase of political knowledge on the EU and a increased political motivation. More than 90 percent of the kids stated that they learnt “how the EU works” and that they understood that compromises and discussions are important parts of the politics. The fact that the kids had a great time playing the games turned this project into a really pleasant experience.
In this simulation game itself, school kids of nine take on the role of a European country. They negotiate about an EU-wide regulation for healthier food, more environmentally friendly cars or better animal protection standards. Illustrated role profiles with only very little text indicate each country’s position.
The game facilitators take over the role of the European Commission, making suggestions to the countries such as: “The new regulation should apply in 2020.” The pupils position themselves in the room according to their position: Do they want the regulation to enter into force earlier or later?
Different points of view become clear and arguments can be exchanged. Those who are persuaded by arguments of others change their position in the room.
The objective of the game is not an exact replay of the EU but to give the children a sense of how and why politicians from different EU states negotiate and how compromise can be reached.
You can book the facilitation of one of the simulation games or multiplier trainings with us. Alternatively, you can download the game materials (in German) for free for your own use.
Facts + Figures
School children aged 8-10
- A first introduction to the EU
- Giving a basic understanding of politics and political negotiations
- Formation of problem solving skills via targeted search for compromise and solution strategies for political conflicts
Europpäisches Informationszentrum (EIZ) Niedersachsen
Development, design and facilitation of simulation games
September 2015 - August 2016
25 primary schools in Niedersachsen
The simulation game proved to be an interesting and appropriate method for allowing primary school kids to experience democratic and political activity.
I also really enjoyed seeing my class in a different light, as an outside observer. I get the feeling that the kids were genuinely interested and enthusiastic and would have loved to continue playing this game.
Very well organised, good ideas, good and attractive materials and really friendly staff from planpolitik in Berlin. A real enrichment for class!!!!