About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the Public Opinion, Political Culture and Civic Behavior chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topic||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||American political culture|
American views about its political system
|Definition of political culture, with an emphasis on America's culture;|
What influences public opinion and how public opinion impacts the political system;
Beliefs most Americans hold about the nation's political system
|Tuesday|| Political socialization|
Measurement of public opinion
|Definition of political socialization, how Americans form political values;|
How polling is done, problems with polling;
Definition of attentive public, how they differ from the general public
Random and quota sampling
Polling and survey bias
|Definition of opinion leader, the importance of their influence|
Difference between quota and random sampling
Definition of bias, why it occurs, examples of bias
Political participation in the U.S.
|Advantages and disadvantages of voting, rational choice theory, paradox of participation;|
What impacts voter turnout, why voter participation is dropping in the U.S. and how it compares to other countries
|Friday|| Alternative forms of political participation|
|Ways besides voting that allow Americans to participate in the political process, such as campaigning and contacting government leaders;|
Types of political change, including revolutions, and why they are needed
1. What is American Political Culture?
The American political culture is a system of shared political traditions, customs, beliefs and values. This lesson discusses the characteristics of America's political culture and the factors that help shape it.
2. What is Public Opinion?
Public opinion is an expression of the general population's thoughts on a particular political issue. This lesson discusses the concept of public opinion and explores influences on public opinion.
3. Frames of Reference: How America Views the Political System
Americans use a unique frame of reference to perceive and evaluate our political system. This lesson explores five common beliefs Americans hold about the American political system.
4. What is Political Socialization?
Political socialization is the process by which people form their ideas about politics. This lesson explains political socialization and discusses the means through which Americans form their political values.
5. The Measurement of Public Opinion
Public opinion is an expression of the general population's thoughts on a particular political issue. This lesson discusses the measurement of public opinion, including the development and use of opinion polling.
6. Polling the Attentive Public
The following lesson focuses on a specific group of people that stay educated on complex political issues. You'll learn who they are and why their opinion matters to policy makers and officials running for public office.
7. Opinion Leaders: Who Are They & Why Do They Matter?
The following lesson will discuss how individuals known as opinion leaders shape the public's perceptions on complex issues, such as politics. There will be a short quiz following the lesson to check your understanding.
8. Random Sampling vs. Quota Sampling
The following lesson will discuss the methods that researchers use to gather data from large populations. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check for your understanding.
9. Bias in Polls & Surveys: Definition, Common Sources & Examples
When Mark Twain commented that there were three types of lies, he included statistics in the count. In this lesson, we look at bias, one of the ways in which statistics can mislead, and in some cases, flat out lie to us.
10. Voting: Costs and Benefits
In a country as large as the United States, it's highly unlikely that one person's vote will decide the outcome of a presidential election. Does this mean the costs of voting outweigh the benefits? This lesson explores this question.
11. Political Participation in the United States: Influences & Voter Turnout
Despite an increase in the number of eligible voters, political participation in the United States seems to be on the decline. This lesson discusses influences on political participation and voter turnout.
12. Alternative Forms of Political Participation: Role & Types
Americans participate in government by voting, but they also participate in many other ways. This lesson discusses the role alternative forms of political participation play in our political involvement.
13. Political Change: Definition, Purpose & Types
The following lesson discusses how political change is a powerful force in politics. Some key types of political change are also discussed. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.
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