Civics teachers! Here is a good resource for you to use to move civics learning in your classroom. This is a web-based education project with interactive games and activities to engage your students in learning about our nation. (Thanks to Mr. W from VHS!)
iCivics, inc. (formerly Our Courts) is a 501 non-profit organization that promotes civics education and encourages students to become active citizens. iCivics was founded by retired Supreme Court of the United States Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor started the web-based education project because she was concerned that students’ failing grades on civics examinations were due to inadequate information and tools required for civic participation, and that civics teachers needed better materials and support.
iCivics is a web-based education project that offers an array of free interactive games and activities for students.[
After leaving the bench in 2006, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor grew concerned with the frequency and character of verbal attacks directed at the courts. O’Connor reasoned these attacks stemmed from a “fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the judicial branch of government.” To educate students, Justice O’Connor suggests tapping into the 40 hours a week teenagers spend online by promoting videogames to teach the fundamentals of civics and active engagement Since the launch in 2009, iCivics’ games have been played over 2 million times.
In March 2009, iCivics, inc. grew out of the Our Courts project, a joint venture of Georgetown University Law School and Arizona State University. In August 2009, Our Courts added Supreme Decision and Do I Have A Right? to the website. Our Courts became iCivics in May 2010. A more comprehensive website was launched, supplementing the gaming modules with classroom lessons on the branches of government. iCivics creates free lesson plans, videogames, and interactive activities for middle and high school students and educators.
iCivics incorporates interactive activities like opinion polls and web quests, and tries to “empower students with knowledge of their government.”
The website has different access points for teachers and students.
Above The Law sponsored a Do I Have A Right? challenge in 2010.
There are 16 civics games available online. Filament Games is the primary developer of the educational games.
In March 2009, Justice O’Connor went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and promoted civics through Our Courts. Justice O’Connor was the keynote speaker at Games for Change in 2010, and iCivics was featured at the Games for Change conference in New York in 2011. The Washington Post Editorial Board highlighted the shortcomings of civics, and the efforts of iCivics. Newsweek featured Justice O’Connor and the iCivics initiative on Independence Day, 2011.
Fourteen different computer games have been launched by iCivics.
Do I Have a Right?
In Do I Have A Right?, the player controls firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. The player must decide whether potential clients have a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and if so, match them with the right lawyer. The more clients served, the faster the law firm grows.
Argument Wars is a simulation of a courtroom argument. Players test their persuasive abilities by arguing real Supreme Court cases, and must convince a judge that the law is on their side.
In Supreme Decision, the player is a Supreme Court law clerk to a fictional Justice who grabs you on her way to an oral argument in a case involving a student’s right to wear a banned band t-shirt. The Court is split 4-4. The game divides the First Amendment case into four issues that are explained through the other eight Justices’ conversations. The player puts together the legal analysis needed to decide the case.