iCivics

Free! iCivics is a multi-faceted resource that includes games and materials dedicated to the teaching of civics. To access the games, users must click the “Play” button on the top of the screen. Next, they will need to choose one of three games. (For all the games, users can create a profile and log in or play as a guest.) The first game is “Win the White House” and it allows users to first customize the experience by selecting a grade level, choosing a character, selecting and debating issues, and then developing a campaign. Once completed, the game advances users…

Review Overview

A. Instruction - 7.5
B. Design - 8.8
C. Engagement - 8.9

8.4

Adding Engagement to Civics!

8

iCivics is a multi-faceted resource that includes games and materials dedicated to the teaching of civics. To access the games, users must click the “Play” button on the top of the screen. Next, they will need to choose one of three games. (For all the games, users can create a profile and log in or play as a guest.) The first game is “Win the White House” and it allows users to first customize the experience by selecting a grade level, choosing a character, selecting and debating issues, and then developing a campaign. Once completed, the game advances users to the political conventions where candidates announce their vice presidential running mates. Users will then begin traveling the United States to compete for votes against their rival candidate for 10 weeks leading up to the general election. To compete, users will have to make decisions regarding how to fundraise in states, poll voters, make media ads, and do personal appearances in different states to earn votes. As they do, the game updates users about their progress before the general election, and users can modify strategically based on the reported results to change the outcome of the general election. The other two games offered by iCivics are “Do I Have a Right?” and “Bill of Rights Edition” and both are set in a law firm. In the games, users take the role of lawyers and tend to clients who come into the office with cases. The clients present a violation of their rights and each lawyer specializes in one area. The game then requires users to match the clients to the different lawyers in the firm. If the client is matched with a lawyer who can represent them, they go to court and win the case. If they are mismatched and go to court, they lose the case. As users win cases, they earn points that they can use to further develop their law firm.

Please Note: In addition to the games, iCivics offers users curriculum units, lesson plans, and DBQs among other resources to support the teaching of civics. To access these materials, please click here.

Instructional Ideas

  1. When engaging issues while playing the “Win the White House” game in class, students can record the issue using an Office app. After having finished playing the game, students can return to the list of issues they recorded. Next, they can conduct online research to see how the current presidential candidates or President sided on the issues. Students can record the information they found and teachers can use it as a springboard to a class conversation.
  2. After playing either the “Do I Have a Right?” game or “Bill of Rights Edition” game, teachers can have students pick an issue that was sent to court. Next, teachers can have students enact the actual case that happened in the courtroom. To do so, teachers can assign students to be the client, judge, and attorneys. When in the courtroom, the client can tell his/her story about the alleged violation, and the attorneys can make their arguments. After the arguments, the judge can make and explain his/her ruling. Teachers can either do this activity as a whole class where students who were not assigned roles can observe the court or in small groups where all students would have a role. Once complete, teachers can lead a class conversation to debrief students.
  3. Teachers can have students play either the “Do I Have a Right?” game or “Bill of Rights Edition” game. After doing so, teachers can have students model the game by requiring each student to write a fictional complaint that explains how and why one of their rights was violated. Next, each student will have to present his/her complaint, and the other students will have to identify which right was violated.
  4. Teachers can have students play the “Win the White House” game independently. As they do, teachers can have a class competition to see who can win the White House by the most votes.
  5. For an extended learning activity, teachers can have a class competition to see which student can develop his/her law firm the most while playing either the “Do I Have a Right?” game or “Bill of Rights Edition” game. Teachers can limit this activity to a week, month, or semester.
A1. Rigor
A2. 21st Century Skills
A3. Conn. to Future Learning
A4. Value of Errors
A5. Feedback to Teacher
A6. Level of Material
A7. Cooperative Learning
A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.
B1. Ability to Save Progress
B2. Platform Integration
B3. Screen Design
B4. Ease of Use
B5. Navigation
B6. Goal Orientation
B7. Information Presentation
B8. Media Integration
B9. Cultural Sensitivity
C1. Learner Control
C2. Interactivity
C3. Pace
C4. Flexibility
C5. Interest
C6. Aesthetics
C7. Utility

Screenshots

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