iCivics is an excellent source of educational games that offer lessons in civics. Since its launch a few years ago, iCivics has steadily grown to the point that it now contains nineteen educational games for students. All of the games require students to take on a decision making role. To succeed in the games students have to apply their understanding of the rules and functions local, state, or Federal government. Some games require an understanding of the U.S. court system and or the Constitution.
A few of the iCivics games that I have tried and enjoyed are Law Craft, We The Jury, and Do I Have a Right? Law Craft helps students understand how a bill becomes law by making them Representatives of a state of their choice. As Representatives students have to propose a bill that serves their constituents then see that bill all the way through to becoming a law.
In We The Jury students choose to be one of six jurors at a trial. Students then hear the facts of the case, hear closing arguments from the plaintiff and the defendant, and then go off to deliberate in the jury room. Students can deliberate for up to five days before handing down the verdict. During deliberations students examine evidence, listen to the opinions of other jurors, and try to reach a unanimous decision. Throughout the process students are reminded of the roles of jurors and to stick to only the evidence and arguments permitted by the judge.
Do I Have a Right? is a game in which students decide if a client has a right to sue under Constitutional Law. Students play the role of the head of a law firm specializing in Constitutional Law. To succeed in the game students have to review the claims of the potential clients and match them to a lawyer who specializes in the appropriate aspect of Constitutional Law. This game is also available as an iPad app called Pocket Law Firm.