Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Playing with Politics and Government

The political season is in full bloom and wherever you live and whatever your political perspective, you can't escape the primary stages of the presidential election process. And, as we all know, things are only going to get more interesting and intense as we move towards the November elections. 

As noted in a recent NY Times article, former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is a major force behind a video game that brings the election process to life for students, called Win the White House, The game is one of several created by iCivics, a nonprofit organization Justice O'Connor founded in 2009, after she retired from the Supreme Court in 2006. Other games (there are 19, each with lesson plans) include "Do I Have a Right?" and "Bill of Rights."  

The games are all aligned with the Common Core Standards and designed to be played by students of varying ages. In addition to the accompanying lesson plans, each of the games offers DBQs (document based questions), classroom activities, and tools to teach such other skills as formulating an argument. All of the iCivics games and tools are free, although some require registration.

Justice O'Connor is not the only "Supreme" involved in iCivics. Through her encouragement, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has joined the iCivics Board of Directors and the organization has received an award from the MacArthur Foundation, as well as support from numerous leading foundations. 


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