iCivics was created by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as a way to teach about government and to encourage civic participation. The site can be used by anyone, but free registration lets students save games, complete assignments, and share scores with friends and lets teachers create a class and assignments, track student progress, and access the entire curriculum.
Students learn about citizenship, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, budgeting, foreign policy and national defense, separation of powers, and branches of government in sixteen Games. The games are grouped by theme and length of game play, 0-15, 15-30, and 30+ minutes. One of the shorter games is Argument Wars in which students test their persuasive powers by arguing in one of eight historic Supreme Court cases. The game includes useful instructions. Students are scored during play as they argue their case. Though default tutorial assistance is offered along the way, experienced players can choose to turn off the tutorial function. Short does not necessarily mean easy. Game play requires close reading. If Argument Wars is representative of all the games, they are best suited for students in grades 6-12.
Teachers can search for K-12 course materials in civics, economics, geography, government, history, and skills or select a state and grade level in the Curriculum Finder to find specific lessons. Lessons are also organized under sixteen curriculum units. A sixth grade unit in Persuasive Writing features eight lessons and a culminating activity: the game Supreme Decision.
Impact Competition lets registered students donate points earned in game play to Impact Projects. Every three months, $1000 is donated to the project with the most points.