iCivics Celebrates Gaming Milestone
October 21, 2010
More than one million iCivics games have been played by students across the country
October 21, 2010 – WASHINGTON, DC – iCivics announced today that, in just over a year, more than one million iCivics.org games have been played by students in all 50 states and Washington DC. iCivics.org, founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, hosts free games and other interactive activities that approach civics content through problems that affect students’ lives.
“iCivics games represent a new approach to civic education: one that engages the twenty-first century student in problem-based and interactive learning,” said Justice O’Connor. “I am thrilled that the games have been played more than one million times in just over a year. Helping students learn about our democracy is the most significant contribution I can hope to make to our nation’s future.”
In August 2009, iCivics released two curricular units on the courts and the Constitution. These units included two games, Supreme Decision and Do I Have A Right?, in which students learn about their constitutional rights from the perspective of a lawyer or a judge. In the fast-paced game Do I Have A Right?, students run a constitutional law firm. Clients come to the firm with problems that are both relevant and humorous, and students must decide whether each client has suffered a rights violation, and if so, must identify the constitutional amendment that has been violated. In Supreme Decision, students play a law clerk to a Supreme Court justice, who is the tiebreaking vote in a case about First Amendment rights in school. Students listen to justices debating the arguments in the case and make decisions that shape the majority opinion. In January 2009, iCivics added a third game, Argument Wars, in which students play a lawyer arguing famous Supreme Court cases in areas such as civil rights, protections for criminal defendants, student rights, and the First Amendment.
A more comprehensive website, iCivics.org, was launched in May, along with classroom units on all three branches of government and five new games. In Branches of Power, LawCraft, Executive Command, Court Quest, and Represent Me students can play all three branches of government and explore the checks and balances between them. Students learn about the powers and limitations of the three branches as they are applied to specific issues, and experience the unique perspective of each.
Feedback from teachers and students about the first eight games has been overwhelmingly positive. iCivics games are all free, browser-based, and standards-aligned. iCivics plans to release a new unit on citizenship and civic engagement this month, along with three new games by the end of 2010.
iCivics (www.icivics.org) is the vision of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to create an interactive program to engage middle school students in civics. iCivics.org is a free, web-based curriculum developed by education, law, entertainment, and technology experts across the country.
Jeff J. Curley