iCivics

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iCivics, inspired by the leadership of Sandra Day O’Connor, is a web-based education project designed to reinvigorate civic teaching and learning through free lesson plans, web quests, discussion forums and games. This program is designed primarily for Middle School students.

The need for improved civics programs is documented by the lack of knowledge we have about our government. Survey after survey shows that only15% of citizens can name the Chief Justice of the United States whereas 66% can name a judge on American Idol. Only 36% can name the three branches of government.

When Justice O’Connor hosted a conference of teachers in 2007, teachers said that a new approach to 21st Century students was essential.  Icivics was developed to reach contemporary students as 97% of American teenagers play video games.  The iCivics site provides civics games, complete lesson plans, comprehensive resource links, civics in action projects and more.

iCivics is free.  Their programs and materials are being developed through a partnership of Georgetown Law and Arizona State University. Experts in the field of games and digital entertainment such as James Paul Gee, the leading theorist on video games and learning, are involved. Resources are accessible and do not need to be downloaded.  Lesson plans are self-contained, practical and engaging. New resources are constantly being developed. The current complete units are: The Constitution, Separation of Powers, Citizenship and Civic Engagement, Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, Judicial Branch, and Persuasive Writing,

The following curricular units are under development; Foundations of Government and Federal Budgeting. Each unit will include games, lesson plans and interactive activities.

Sign up for an iCivics account which is FREE. Become an iCivics pilot classroom and help test and evaluate the latest games and lessons.  Join the mailing list and find out the latest news. Follow icivics on Twitter.

If you have questions please contact volunteer Barbara Anderson who is responsible for Maine’s iCivics program at banderson46@maine.rr.com.

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