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Site Review: iCivics

history educationSite URL: iCivics.com

Content:  iCivics describes itself as the nation’s most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum freely available on the Internet. The materials are suitable for middle- and high-school students.

Design:  Everything about the way this site looks and works is first-rate. From the animated avatars to the fluid game controls, iCivics delivers a dynamic user experience without sacrificing content.

icivicsReview:  In 2009, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. In the years since its launch, iCivics has produced over 20 educational video games as well as an impressive catalogue of lessons that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. Lesson plans cover everything from making a coherent argument regarding free speech to simulating the government budgeting process.

iCivics also incorporates interactive activities like opinion polls and WebQuests, and tries to “empower students with knowledge of their government.” To that end, all the classroom materials and online games are designed to strengthen students’ understanding of civics and the role they play in our everyday lives.

While the classroom materials are top-notch, the real stars of the site are the games. Students are thrust into a variety of roles as they play titles such as “Do I Have a Right” and “Supreme Decision.” In the courtroom simulation, “Argument Wars,” players test their persuasive abilities by arguing real Supreme Court cases while trying to convince a judge that the law is on their side

Bottom Line:  Use these excellent teaching materials to boost students’ civics savvy.

 

Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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