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iCivics.com - Political Online Games

With iCivics Games , kids experience first-hand how to become involved citizens and understand the political process. Games have students go through activities such as campaigning for a cause, casting a vote, arguing a Supreme Court Case, making a community budget and solving international problems.

The iCivics Experience

The games at iCivics may be played by registering for an account or playing as a guest. By registering for an account, students have the ability to save their progress, unlock rewards and connect with a class online. Teachers who register can create assignments, track students’ progress and access the curriculum materials tied to the games. Many of the games and curriculum materials are connected to state standards, making them easy to implement into the curriculum.

Created by Sandra Day O’Connor, a Supreme Court Justice, the goal of iCivics is to help students become more knowledgeable, engaged citizens. The games engage students by taking them through experiences and having them use their knowledge of civics to answer questions and make decisions. For example, in Liberty Belle’s Immigration Nation , players listen to immigrants’ stories to determine whether to allow them to enter the United States or deny entry. Explanations are provided for right and wrong answers to reinforce the knowledge students need to know about citizenship.

Liberty Belle’s Immigration Nation

Using the Games

While the games have been designed to teach students about civics, they must have some knowledge of systems of government, the different branches of government and how the court systems work before playing the games. Some games, such as Court Quest , provide brief overviews at the beginning, but most lack that overview. Since students are penalized for incorrect answers, they may lose motivation quickly when playing a game where they have not reviewed the material beforehand.

Court Quest Overview

Thankfully, many of the teacher’s guides included with the lessons help direct teachers to the knowledge and materials students should review in order to fully benefit from the games at iCivics. Many of the guides lead to other curriculum units or games available from iCivics. To help teachers plan units, the website also offers suggested sequences for games and lessons. For example, before playing Argument Wars , students should go through the lessons “Interpreting the Constitution: What does that Mean?” and “The ‘Supreme’ in Supreme Decision.”

Argument Wars Lesson Guide

Getting students to understand their role in the world of politics and helping them understand their duties as citizens can be difficult. The 16 games available through iCivics help older students, such as those in middle and high school, better understand their roles and duties by taking them through actual scenarios. With the accompanying standards-based lessons, teachers will find it easy to make this resource a regular part of a social studies classroom.

Written July 18, 2012 by Stacy Zeiger

Social Studies

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