1. Introduce the vocabulary.
Write the vocabulary words union and alliance on the board. Explain to students that both unions and alliances are groups. Tell students that unions and alliances can be groups of people or countries that join together to work toward a common goal. Ask: Imagine our class is a union or alliance. What goal do we work toward as a group? Elicit from students that the class is a group of students and a teacher who meet each day to work together to learn.
2. Have students identify examples of unions or alliances they are a part of.
Ask students to list some of the unions or alliances they are part of. If needed, prompt them with examples such as school teams, their extended families, clubs, or religious groups. List students' unions and alliances on the board.
3. Have students identify non-examples of unions and alliances.
Ask students to list some non-examples of unions and alliances in order to reinforce the idea of unions and alliances as groups working toward a common goal. If needed, prompt them with non-examples such as bus riders or students in different grades.
4. Discuss conflict and conflict resolution within groups.
Ask: Do group members ever disagree or get into arguments? What happens in these situations? Encourage students to describe how group members act or what they say. Ask: How can they solve their disagreements? Students may recognize that there is a group leader to resolve disputes, or that all members are equals and must vote to make decisions.
5. Brainstorm the pros and cons of being a member of a union or alliance.
Draw a simple T-Chart on the board and write in the heads Pros and Cons. Ask students to brainstorm some of the pros and cons of being a member of a union or alliance. For example, Pros include having the same goals and Cons include not being able to agree on what to do. List students' ideas on the board.
Subjects & Disciplines
- Human relations
- identify unions or alliances they belong to
- describe conflict resolution within groups
- identify the pros and cons of being a member of a group
National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards
- • Theme 5:
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
National Geography Standards
- • Standard 13:
- How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
What You’ll Need
Materials You Provide
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
Background & Vocabulary
Unions are groups of people, countries, or organizations that join together because of a common goal. By thinking about the groups you belong to and how these groups help members work together, you can understand why countries join together in the United Nations and other international alliances.
Recommended Prior Activities
|Term||Part of Speech||Definition||Encyclopedic Entry|
people or groups united for a specific purpose.
group of people or countries that work together for a common goal or set of goals.
The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.
Christina Riska, National Geographic Society
Jeanne Wallace-Weaver, Educational Consultant
adapted from the National Geographic Xpeditions lesson “Unions and Alliances”
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