Media and Influence

This unit is designed to teach students about sources of influence on our society and our government. Students learn how the media and interest groups influence discussions that take place in the “public sphere” and ultimately influence the government. They also identify and apply the seven types of propaganda to see how messages are designed to influence us individually.  The unit challenges students to take a critical look at all these sources of constructed messages through simulations, vocabulary-building activities, and real world applications.


The Public Sphere

Public sphere, public agenda, public opinion, public policy… What’s the difference? Students discover the relationships among these concepts and how they influence the issues we all discuss and care about. 


Propaganda: What's the Message?

Examine the seven forms of propaganda found in advertising and politics. Discover the persuasive methods behind the messaging we see every day and gain skills to effectively identify and counter them. A classroom gallery walk challenges students to detect the propaganda techniques at work and evaluate their effectiveness. 


The Role of Media

What is the media? What does it do? Students examine the types and roles of the media by taking on the role of newsmaker and agenda setter. 

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Interest Groups

Does the influence of interest groups harm or help our political system? Interest groups have recently unleashed the power of massive budgets for political ads, and most people can’t keep up with all of the messages. Students must decide whether interest groups generally inform or mislead voters about important issues. Students will examine reasons and evidence on both sides, and ultimately craft an effective argument for the side they choose. With increasing political influence, this Drafting Board issue frames an important contemporary debate for your students!


Interest Groups

The role of interest groups in politics and government is a hot topic in the media today. This lesson uses the battle over school lunch ingredients to illustrate how interest groups and lobbying affect public policy. Take a side in the battle, create an interest group, and try to influence public policy.