ALEX Lesson Plan


Will You Join a Special Interest Group?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Rhonda Rush
System: Homewood City
School: Homewood High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 29878


Will You Join a Special Interest Group?


Students will create a brochure aimed at recruiting members of a special interest group. After selecting a group to research from a list that is attached, students will use the Internet to research the group, identify the primary objectives of the group and the group's accomplishments. Students then will publish a brochure aimed at recruiting prospective members.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Technology Education
TC2 (2009)
Grade: 9-12
Computer Applications
12 ) Use digital tools to publish curriculum-related content.

Examples: Web page authoring software, coding software, wikis, blogs, podcasts

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 12
United States Government
8 ) Describe functions and the development of special interest groups and campaign contributions by political action committees and their impact on state and national elections. (Alabama)

•  Analyzing rulings by the United States Supreme Court, including Buckley versus Valeo, regarding campaign financing to determine the effect on the election process
Insight Unpacked Content
Column Definitions

Strand: Economics, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Government
Evidence of Student Attainment:
  • Explain how contributions of PACs and other special interest groups impact state and national elections.
  • Analyze how campaign spending and finance practices have evolved over time in response to key laws and Supreme Court decisions.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • political action committee (PAC)
  • Buckley v. Valeo
  • Citizens United v. Federal Election
  • Commission (italicize)
  • Federal Election Commission
  • contribution limit
  • hard money
  • soft money
  • Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971
  • public financing
  • special interest group
Students know:
  • How special interest groups impact state and national elections through various means, such as endorsements and political advertising.
  • Key Supreme Court decisions and laws that frame the current campaign spending and finance practices.
Students are able to:
  • Analyze an excerpt of a Supreme Court decision and identify their constitutional reasoning in reaching their decision.
  • Analyze table or chart of contributions or expenditures to demonstrate how money is distributed amongst candidates, their outcome on the election process, or trends over time.
Students understand that:
  • The historical issue of campaign spending and finance, as well as Supreme Court decisions and Federal law, shape the current practices of special interest groups in their efforts to impact state and national elections.

Local/National Standards:

National Council for Social Studies

NCSS - C.9-12.3 Principles of Democracy

How Does the government Established by the Constitution Embody the Purposes, Values, and Principles of American Democracy?

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The student will develop extensive knowledge of the organization and objectives of a special interest group currently in existence in the United States.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will develop proficiency in the use of a digital publishing tool.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Students will need a copy of the attached handout listing suggested special interest groups and a copy of the evaluation form for peer evaluations.

Technology Resources Needed:

computer with Internet access

access to a publishing program such as Microsoft Publisher, Broderbund Printshop, Scribus, Adobe InDesign

printer access


Students need a brief introduction to the development and function of special interest groups.


Students will be given a list of special interest groups currently in existence in the United States.  Although this list is certainly not conclusive, it is a list of some of the more prominent groups.

Divide the class into 6 cooperative learning groups and assign a section of the list to each of the 6 groups.  Some groups will need to have a smaller numbers of members depending on the number of special interest groups in that section.

Each cooperative learning group will select a special interest group from within their assigned section.  The group member should research that group, visit the website for the group, and identify the following information about the group:

  • historical background
  • objectives
  • size of membership
  • profile typical member
  • activities of group

Each student will then develop a brochure using a software program such as Microsoft Publisher (see notes in technology resources) aimed at advertising/recruiting new members for the special interest group.  The brochure should include the information the student obtained through research, pictures of the group's activities and the group's logo. Students should print their brochure when completed.

Students should then solicit 5 class members to read/evaluate their brochure completing the attached evaluation form.  Class members will then have an opportunity to learn about 5 special interest groups other than the one they selected.

The teacher will complete an evaluation form as well including a score for compiled student evaluations.

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Assessment Strategies

The assignment will be evaluated using the Peer Evaluation form and the Teacher Evaluation form that is attached.


Students who wish to learn more about special interest groups may enjoy researching multiple special interest groups and presenting knowledge gained through an informal talk from which the entire class could benefit.


Weak readers or English Language Learners may need to eliminate the inclusion of information on membership  in their brochure.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.