Activity
Day 1
1. Students brainstorm in small groups on the following questions:
a.
What is an interest group?
b. What do interest groups do?
c. Name as many interest groups that you can think of.
2.
Hold a class discussion on the group’s responses
to come up with an accurate definition of an interest
group and a description of what interest
groups do.
3.
Ask students: What are the positive and negative aspects
of interest groups?
4.
After the discussion, tell the students that they will
be learning about the role of
interest groups
on policy making as well as the types of interest
groups that are effective in lobbying policy makers.
5.
Hand out Federalist #10. A source for the Federalist
Papers is: http://www.libertynet.org/~edcivic/fed10.html
6.
Read the article and discuss the following questions
in class:
a.
What did James Madison say he meant by faction (i.e.
Interest group)?
b. What danger to American representative democracy
and freedom did Madison believe factions represented?
c. What solution did Madison see to the dangers
of factions?
d. Do we still have factions today? What do we
call them? What are some examples of modern factions?
e. Modern estimates suggest that there are more
than 20,000 interest groups in America today.
What would James Madison think of this?
Did his concerns
turn out to be true?
*
from the lesson plan  “Who are
the Special Interests?""What
Effect do They Have on Public Policy Making?" National
Conference of State Legislatures at:http://www.ncsl.org/public/trust/lessonp3h.htm
Day
2
Introduce
the lesson by lecturing on types of interest groups and
lobbying techniques. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA98/pollklas/thesis/types.html is a source for this information.
1.
Copy the poll on Interest groups from http://www.ncsl.org/public/trust/opinionpoll.htm
2.
Have students take the poll in class and discuss their
responses.
a.
What type of private interests seem to be represented
(environment, medical etc.)?
b. List examples of groups that fall under each
of the following: ideological, single issue,
professional, economic
and public. The teacher can write the examples
on
the board as the students name them.
c. Do you believe that interest groups are helpful
or a hindrance? Explain.
3.
Have students poll ten adults for homework. Closure
Day 3
Students will discuss the results of the poll:
a.
What conclusions can you draw from your poll?
b. Do the people you polled seem to recognize that they are part of “special
interests?”
c. Do people seem to have a negative or positive view of interest groups?
d. What limitations, if any, should be placed on the activities of special
interest groups?
Homework
Students will
poll ten adults using the poll on http://www.ncsl.org/public/trust/opinionpoll.htm
