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. Explore the principles that help define the unique political culture in the United States, including liberty, equality, democracy, individualism, nationalism, and diversity.
2. What is Public Opinion?
Public opinion is an expression of the collective thoughts that the majority of a general population communicate about a particular issue. Learn about public opinion polls and discover the influences on public opinion.
3. Frames of Reference: How America Views the Political System
A frame of reference is a set of ideas, values, and other standards used as a basis for comparing and evaluating something. Learn how America views the political system using frames of reference. Review liberty, equality, democracy, civic duty, individual responsibility, and other concepts to understand the frames of reference that shape Americans' expectations for their political system.
4. What is Political Socialization?
A person's political ideas are formed throughout their lifetime by the concept of political socialization. Learn the definition of political socialization and explore how a person's political viewpoints can be influenced beginning in childhood by family, peers, teachers, and the media.
5. The Measurement of Public Opinion
Public opinion is very important to a politician because they represent the views of the American people. Discover how public opinion is measured through polling and potential polling errors in this lesson.
6. Polling the Attentive Public
The attentive public are a group of the population with a working knowledge of political events that vote more often than not. Learn about polling the attentive public, who they are, and how to distinguish between them and the general public.
7. Opinion Leaders: Who Are They & Why Do They Matter?
Opinion leaders help to shape the public's perceptions on complex issues such as politics by interpreting political messages. Explore who opinion leaders are and why they matter and discover the role of pundits.
8. Random Sampling vs. Quota Sampling
Sampling methods are used by researchers to predict outcomes and draw conclusions when it is not possible to gather data from every member of a population. This lesson will describe the advantages and limitations of two such methods: random sampling, which is a type of probability sampling, and quota sampling, which is a type of non-probability sampling.
9. Bias in Polls & Surveys: Definition, Common Sources & Examples
Bias is anything that results in a data set that differs from the truth and can be influenced in various ways. Learn more about the definition, common sources, and examples of bias in polls and surveys.
10. Voting: Costs and Benefits
The number of people who don't vote usually vastly outnumbers the number of people who do. Explore the costs of voting, the benefits of voting, and the rational choice theory in this lesson.
11. Political Participation in the United States: Influences & Voter Turnout
Many factors influence political participation in the United States, which was on the decline during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Explore the influences on political participation and nonparticipation, and examine the factors that help determine voter turnout.
12. Alternative Forms of Political Participation: Role & Types
Alternative forms of political participation include unconventional or illegal things like protesting or vandalism. Explore roles and types of political participation and discover the differences between legal and illegal participation.
13. Political Change: Definition, Purpose & Types
Political change, despite its broad reach, is usually defined as a significant change in government surrounding leadership and policies. Explore this definition further, looking at the most common causes and types of political change.
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