Who has the Biggest Voice?

Author: Sylvia Kniest

Time: One-two class periods
Copy Interest group profiles
Materials: Access to a computer lab


Students will research actual interest groups to gain an understanding of the strategies they use to influence public policy.

Students will be able to:
1. Identify at least two different interest groups that represent their assigned point of view.
2. Describe various lobbying techniques used by interest groups.
3. Describe the wide range of issues that interest groups address.

National Standards For Civics and Government
III-E. How does the American political system provide for choice and opportunities for participation?
V- D. What civic dispositions or traits of private and public character are important to the preservation and improvement of American constitutional democracy?
V-E. How can citizens take part in civic life?

Teacher Background
Review/discuss lobbying techniques when introducing this lesson.

Resource Websites
General list of interest groups: http://www.politicalindex.com/sect10.htm
Interest Groups for Coal Industry:
http://www.umwa.org/homepage.shtml (United Mine Workers)
Interest Groups for Nuclear Energy:
Interest Groups for Environment:



1. Divide the class into three groups; environment, coal industry and nuclear industry.

2. Students will search websites to find groups that represent their assigned interest.
a. Suggest students begin with the general website at: http://www.politicalindex.com/sect10.htm
b. Have students search for interest groups on their own or have them use the recommended sites listed above.
c. Students should identify and research two different interest groups in order to complete the profile worksheet.


1. Name of interest group:
2. Purpose or mission statement:
3. What are some issues that this organization addresses?
4. List examples of lobbying techniques used by this organization.
5. How successful has this organization been? Give examples of their accomplishments.
6. Would you join this organization? Why or why not?

Day 2:
1. Students will meet in groups by their assigned interest: environment, coal industry and nuclear industry to share their interest group profiles. Groups should compile a list of names of interest groups and lobbying techniques.

2. Lead a class discussion where the groups will share the information they have found:
a) The teacher will list the names of all of the interest groups and lobbying strategies found through the student research by creating a “T” chart on the board. Create two columns on the board and list the students’ responses under the appropriate category.

3. Students will discuss: which interest groups seem to be the most successful? Why do you think this is?

Embedded Assessment
Student profiles should show evidence of research as well as student understanding of the lobbying process.


Embedded Assessment

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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