Lesson: How to "Sell" a Worldview

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Lesson Objective

Students use models from the corporate, political and interpersonal worlds to develop a convincing "pitch" for either individualism or collectivism.

Lesson Plan


Computer with internet access



Social Studies 12.10 Students formulate questions about and defend their analyses of tensions within our constitutional democracy and the importance of maintaining a balance between the following concepts: majority rule and individual rights; liberty and equality; state and national authority in a federal system; civil disobedience and the rule of law; freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial; the relationship of religion and government.

            12.9.1. Explain how the different philosophies and structures of feudalism, mercantilism, socialism, fascism, communism, monarchies, parliamentary systems, and constitutional liberal democracies influence economic policies, social welfare policies, and human rights practices.


English Language Arts 11-12RC2.6 Critique the power, validity, and truthfulness of arguments set forth in public documents; their appeal to both friendly and hostile audiences; and the extent to which the arguments anticipate and address reader concerns and counterclaims (e.g., appeal to reason, to authority, to pathos and emotion).


Anticipatory Set:

Show students these two films, one is a campaign ad and one is a counter-ad, almost a parody, and discuss what went right and what went wrong with each candidate’s selling of their beliefs.

Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsV2O4fCgjk

McCain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gwqEneBKUs  (has some profanity)



Introduce some approaches that some people take to selling ideas. Write these steps on the board.

Within  a company:

State the ultimate goal

Address the main questions people will have

Tell a story of a specific success

See it from the other person’s perspective

Reduce or eliminate the downside/risk

Get things started before the sell is even over

Guide: http://www.bnet.com/article/how-to-sell-an-idea/52953


In getting out the vote:

Convince them that the issue is urgently important

Make it easy for them to act

Show them the benefits of acting

Keep the evidence specific to their situation

Remind them what to do

Reward them or praise them for doing a good thing

Guide: http://www.wikihow.com/Convince-Someone-to-Vote


General Requests:

Make the person comfortable with you

Show them the benefits

Make it clear this is for THEM, not YOU

Be ready for any counter-arguments

Agree with some ideas they already have

Ask them to think about it

Don’t push too hard

Guide: http://www.wikihow.com/Persuade-People



Guided Practice

Have students make mock arguments for these ideas, using the templates above. Allow them to prepare in partners or small groups for 5 or so minutes, and then ask them to pitch to the class. Ask the class what was a strong point and what seemed weak.

-       Everyone should own a dog

-       Noone should do their child’s laundry for them

-       Everyone should move to California

-       Everyone should learn Spanish



Independent Practice:

Distribute the assessment rubric. Students write a draft of their “ad” and check it with the teacher, then create materials or practice their presentation.



Check in with each student or pair before the day of the presentation to give any major points of feedback. Keep an eye out for students who have gone down a failing path and will be upset when they don’t pass.




Lesson Resources



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