Lesson Plan

Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission

A 1 hour lesson into interest groups and their roles in today's politics
Caroline B.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 5, 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to recognize what interest groups are and their roles in politics. Through the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission court case ruling, students will be familiarized with the effects interest groups has on politics.

Social Studies
Grades 9 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

On the board, write down the words: Civil Rights, Education, Environment, Animal Rights, Guns.  Engage the class in a discussion on what these words mean to them. What are they? What do they mean to them? Direct discussion towards the topic of 'issues', specifically controversial ones. Who advocates for these issues?


2 Direct Instruction

Begin showing video (Interest Groups Crash Course). Students will fill out notes provided to them by the teacher as the video plays. When the video concludes, begin PowerPoint reviewing the key factors incorporating terms and concepts from the video as well as those from the text book.

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Reading

Students will be handed a sheet with a summary and decision of the court case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. They will read through the case, high-lighting key material. Once reading is completed, they may ask questions to clarify certain words or aspects of the case.

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Conversing

Students will be divided into two groups: The Pros and the Cons. The students will explore and investigate their position on whether the court case decision had a positive or negative effect on todays politics. A 'recorder' from each group will write a minimum of 3 points supporting their position up on the board. When 10 minutes is up, both sides will compare and contrast the pros and cons.

5 Wrap Up

Activity: Assessing

Students will then fill out the remainder of a worksheet provided to them listing the pros and cons discussed in the class. They should identify and connect terms from the Crash Course video and with the court case. Assign a reading for next class in the textbook