Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education
After this lesson, students will be able to:
- define 'public opinion'
- describe ways to measure public opinion
- explain what impacts public opinion
1 - 1.5 hours
Follow precisely a complex multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.
- Video lesson What is Public Opinion?
- Poll samples collected for student analysis, one for each small group
- Public opinion
- Public opinion poll
- Gallup Organization
- Representative sample
- Sampling error
Warm-Up and Preparation
- Ask students to think of their favorite meal from the cafeteria and write their answers on a piece of paper.
- Collect and tally the votes. Which won? Discuss:
- Does this poll represent fact or opinion? Why?
- Do the results of this poll represent the majority in our classroom population? Why or why not?
- Ask students if they've ever heard of the term 'poll' and discuss prior understandings and knowledge on this topic.
- Now tell students they will be learning about public opinions and conducting their own public opinion project.
- Start the lesson What is Public Opinion? and pause at 1:47.
- Define 'public opinion' and ask students to determine if your poll was public opinion. Why or why not?
- Why is it important for politicians to pay attention to public opinion in a democracy?
- How can knowing and using public opinion help politicians?
- How can politicians use public opinions?
- When and how have you seen public opinions being used?
- Resume the lesson and then pause it again at 6:30.
- Define key terms and break students into small groups.
- Give each group a poll sample and have them analyze, answering the following questions:
- What type of poll is this?
- Who conducted this poll?
- What data does this poll tell us?
- What was the representative sample?
- Is there a sampling error?
- What may have influenced this poll?
- Listen in to student conversations to guide and prompt if necessary.
- When finished, have each group share their poll and discussions with the class, then play the remainder of the lesson.
- Allow students to ask any remaining questions, then take the quiz as a group.
- Allow students to choose a new group or keep them working in the same small groups for this activity.
- Instruct groups to choose a topic they'd like to determine public opinion on, such as 'Biggest stressor in high school' for peers or 'Best job I ever had' for adults.
- Give students time to identify a topic and audience and check with you for approval. Once approved, have students begin working on their public opinion poll.
- When ready, have students conduct their polls, making sure they have access to individuals within and outside of your classroom. You may consider coordinating with other classes who are working on similar units.
- Reconvene in your classroom and ask students to tally their results, then correlate, analyze, and present. Are results what students thought? What is different? What did they learn?
- Have groups assemble their public opinion project into a format they can use to share with the class and have presentation days.
- Have students read current hot-topic public opinion polls, then discuss the issues in class. Do students agree with the polls? Why or why not?
- Research public opinion poll accuracy. When have polls been grossly wrong? Why?
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