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Social Studies help for American History, Economics and AP Government. There are class notes, numerous Supreme Court case summaries and information on how to write a research paper inside.

Participation in Government

Interest groups play a very important part in American politics. They represent the wishes and interests of everyday citizens like you and me as well as large multi national corporations. Interest groups are effective because they can combine the motivation, energy and financial resources of many.

Interest groups perform various functions but most importantly they attempt to influence government. The purpose of this project is to focus in on several interest groups so we can learn what they are, what they represent and how they operate.

Each group must complete the following:

1. Complete a short typewritten paper (Can be printed as a fact sheet, in outline form or in question and answer form) that is due the day of your presentation.

The paper must answer all of the following questions:

  • What is your interest group?
  • Where is the interest group based?
  • Who is the current President of the group?
  • When, where and why was it founded? Who founded it?
  • What is the purpose, issue of your interest group?
  • How many members does your interest group have?
  • What does the interest group do for its members (member services)?
  • What issues does it support? How does it justify (defend) that position?
  • What issues does it oppose? How does it justify (defend) that position?
  • What legislation has it supported and opposed in recent years?
  • What presidential candidates has it endorsed, if any?
  • What presidential candidates has it donated money to? How much?
  • Has the interest group backed anyone in the New York Senatorial race? If so have they donated money and how much?

2. Prepare and deliver a 15 - 20 minute presentation on your interest group. It can go longer if you wish.

In your presentation you must:

  • Explain to the class the answers to all of the questions in the list above.
  • Provide a handout for the class with facts and information about the interest group. This should not be the same thing you give me. This should be shorter, more concise. A pamphlet would be a good idea.
  • Be prepared to answer questions.
  • Give the class your opinion about this group and their positions.

In your presentation you might want to (optional):

  • Use Power Point or some computer presentation software. I can get a lap top and projector.
  • Have visual aids of some sort.
  • Get a guest speaker from that group to come to class! See me if you want to do this.

When you do your presentation you may not read straight from a pre written speech. You can have notes with you but you must not rely on them totally. Everyone in the group must present an equal portion of the presentation.

3. The presentation and your paper will be graded based upon the rubrics that are attached. The breakdown is as follows:

Paper - 50%

  • 25% of the paper will be self graded based upon the attached self evaluation rubric.
  • 75% of the paper will be graded by the teacher. The rubric used to grade the paper is attached.

Presentation - 50%

  • 25% of the presentation portion will be graded by the class, the rubric used to grade the paper is attached.
  • 25% of the presentation portion will be self graded, the rubric used to grade the paper is attached.
  • 50% of the presentation portion will be graded by the teacher, the rubric used to grade the paper is attached.


4. Here are the interest groups. Please fill in all the information as they are assigned so you have it for your records.

Note: Each group is hyperlinked to their web site... thank me later!

Interest Group


Date of Presentation

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)


The Christian Coalition


The National Rifle Association


Greenpeace or the Sierra Club (pick one)


U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)


Handgun Control Inc.


Daughters of the American Revolution


Common Cause


Children's Defense Fund


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)




American Lung Association


American Council of the Blind


Alliance for Justice




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