Media and Influence

This unit is designed to teach students about media influence on politics and society. 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.

Topics at a Glance: media influence on politics and society | role of media | media literacy | forms of propaganda | public sphere

Choose Grade Level:

  • Lesson Plan

    NewsFeed Defenders Extension Pack

    Make your students’ game play more meaningful with activities designed specifically for NewsFeed Defenders. This easy-to-use resource set means deeper learning for students and best practices around game-centered learning for you!
  • Game

    NewsFeed Defenders

    Fight hidden ads, viral deception, and false reporting as a NewsFeed Defender!
  • Video

    Rachel Carson’s Fight for the Environment

    In this video, students learn about Rachel Carson’s achievements. A writer and marine biologist, Carson educated people about nature’s ecosystems. She also warned against the overuse of chemical pesticides. In her bestseller, Silent Spring, Carson urged people to consider the consequences of altering nature and called on the government to protect the environment.This video was made in conjunction with Makematic
  • Video

    Ethel Payne: First Lady of the Black Press

    In this video, students learn about the life of Ethel Payne, the second Black woman to be a member of the White House Press Corps. In her position, Payne asked the questions others didn’t, and brought civil rights issues to a national audience. Her coverage of the Civil Rights Movement and international affairs, brought Black people’s experiences to the front page.
  • Lesson Plan

    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. Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!
  • Lesson Plan

    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. iCivics en español! Student and class materials for this lesson are available in Spanish.
  • Lesson Plan

    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. iCivics en español! Student and class materials for this lesson are available in Spanish. 
  • Lesson Plan

    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. Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!