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The Path to Maine Lawmaking - Maine Department of the Secretary of State

Teaching Guide and Activities

Person to Person: Legislating Maine

LESSON 5: INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA

Learning Outcomes

At the end of Lesson 5 students will be able to

  • Evaluate and defend positions on current issues regarding individual rights and judicial protection.
  • Describe and analyze the process by which a proposed law is adopted, including the role of governmental and non-governmental influences.
  • Identify ways in which citizens in a pluralistic society manage differences of opinion on public policy issues.
  • Assess the competing ideas about the purposes government should serve.

Class Activities

  • Students will report on what they learned about their “bill” from watching TV news, reading newspapers, and/or conducting online searches.
  • In class discussion led by teacher, students will discuss whether the media has ever influenced their opinions about a Maine matter, and if so, teachers will encourage them to explain how and why their opinions might have changed because of the media.
  • “Lobbyists,” “state agency personnel,” and “members of the public ”will assume their roles in the classroom legislative process.
  • “House” and “Senate” will debate the issue and then each will vote to see whether the class “bill” will pass or fail.

Materials

  • no additional materials required

Student Activities

  • “Lobbyists” try to influence legislator classmates using whatever methods they deem appropriate and ethical for advocates hired by interested clients.
  • “Members of the public” try to influence legislator classmates using techniques available to citizens.
  • “State agency personnel” try to influence legislator classmates using methods appropriate to their roles as state employees.
  • Both “sides” of class participate in House and Senate “debates”; entire class votes on issue.

Assessment

  • Did students participate confidently in the “debate”? use evidence from their research to support their positions? assume their roles convincingly?