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Bottom Line

This excellent addition to a civics classroom simplifies complex topics.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

iCivics is a fantastic way to integrate game-based learning into middle and high school social studies curricula. An extensive dashboard lets teachers create classes and assign games by state and Common Core standards and by grade.

What Is It?

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse a decline in civic knowledge and help kids better understand and respect the U.S. government. Sixteen games cover core topics like citizenship, rights, the court system, governance, freedom of speech, and constitutional law. You can sort by topic or time needed for gameplay. Each game provides a walkthrough tutorial that’s easy to understand but does require some reading. Kids can play games with or without a login. Each account has a custom avatar and username, and the account page tracks kids’ activity. If they join the site, they can save their game progress, unlock special features, and compete with other members. Also, when logged in, they can compete in leader boards and earn and donate Impact Points, which can total $1,000 every three months, to various causes like Lenses Without Limits, which provides low-income youth access to photography lessons and equipment.

Is It Good for Learning?

iCivics has been around since 2009, and its well-developed games and thoughtfully designed classroom connections have made it an edtech resource that withstands the test of time. The games vary in depth, but they all offer kids a range of fun ways to learn about the U.S. government and legal system and they consistently offer relevant connections to classroom material. Kids can select a subject and game and get right into the action playing games that are both educational and entertaining. With each click, they make decisions based on civics concepts and advance in the games as they use and improve on what they know. Kids can add to their civics adventure by creating a free account, saving their game scores, and competing with friends. They also can see real-world impact by applying the points they earn to an actual community service project. Overall, the iCivics website is a great resources on its own for students and teachers alike, and it’s a great jumping-off point to the standalone iCivics games.
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