Special Interest Groups Lesson Plan for 8th Grade Example Students

Topic: How Public Opinion is Formed and Influenced

Objectives & Outcomes

  • By the end of this lesson, students will be able to describe a couple of ways that Special Interest groups try to influence public opinion.


  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Handouts with examples of Public Opinion campaigns and Special Interest groups
  • Computers with internet access for research


  • Ask students to think about the last time they participated in a public opinion campaign, either as a participant or as a bystander. What was the campaign about? Who was involved? What methods were used to spread the message?
  • Write their responses on the whiteboard.
  • Then, ask students to think about the last time they saw an advertisement for a product or a cause. Who do they think may have paid for the advertisement?
  • Write their responses on the whiteboard.

Direct Instruction

  • Introduce the concept of special interest groups and explain that they are groups that try to influence public opinion on a particular issue or policy.
  • Discuss some examples of special interest groups, such as environmental groups, religious groups, and political parties.
  • Discuss the methods that special interest groups can use to influence public opinion, including advertisements, demonstrations, and lobbying.
  • Emphasize the importance of understanding the role of special interest groups in shaping public opinion, and the importance of considering their perspective when making decisions about issues and policies.

Guided Practice

  • Divide the class into small groups and give each group a specific special interest group to research.
  • Have the groups research their group and discuss the methods that they use to influence public opinion.
  • Have each group present their group and their methods to the class.

Independent Practice

  • Have students choose one special interest group that interests them and create a campaign to -influence public opinion on that group.
  • Have students present their campaigns to the class.


  • Have students reflect on the importance of special interest groups in influencing public opinion.
  • Ask students to share any new insights they gained about special interest groups.


  • Observe students during the Group Presentation and individual reflection tasks to assess their understanding of special interest groups and their ability to identify and explain two ways that they try to influence public opinion.

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