What is iCivics?
iCivics is a nationally trusted nonprofit civic education provider. They create "high-quality, non-partisan, engaging, and free resources to more than 7.6 million students annually" across America (iCivics.org, Who We Are).
Who founded iCivics?
The nonprofit organization iCivics was founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2009 to teach kids how to effectively participate in American democracy and become responsible citizens through play. Determined to make civic education accessible and engaging to students of all ages, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor "considers iCivics to be her most important work and greatest legacy" (iCivics.org, Our Founder).
Can students receive a high-quality civic education while they play games? Does 'civics for kids' really work?
The iCivics Readers, card games, and internet resources support and prepare students in grades K-5 to not only become engaged citizens and voters but develop their own independent voice to make their community, country, and world a better place. In fact, current research shows "students who receive high-quality civic education are more likely to understand public issues, participate in civic activities, and view the political process as a method of enacting change in their communities" (p. 9, iCivics White Paper Aug. 2021).
Additionally, a recent iCivics survey of teachers revealed "95% of iCivics teachers have noted that their students are demonstrably more engaged; more interested in politics and current events; more open to civil classroom conversations about current events; and more knowledgeable about how our government works" (iCivics.org, Our Proven Impact).
Can iCivics play an effective role in non-civics and civics classes alike?
For example, when 37,000 students played the games "Win the White House" (students attempt to win the majority of electoral votes by strategically raising funds, polling voters, and making personal appearances) and "Cast Your Vote" (students must learn how to become informed voters before casting a vote in an imaginary local election) as part of a test to determine the games' effectiveness as tools, iCivics’ new pre- and post- game assessments showed "an average increase in students’ civic knowledge and dispositions (i.e. likelihood to vote) of 26% and 38% respectively."
You can learn more about iCivics proven impact on student understanding of politics, government, and law by visiting their website. Teachers and other educators above Grade 5 are encouraged to create free iCivics accounts to download age-appropriate lesson plans and game guides, and students in Grade 6 or beyond may continue to play more educational games like "Executive Command" and "Immigration Nation" to explore pivotal citizenship and democratic concepts. Middle school students who create an account can collect impact points, save game progress, unlock special features, and compete with other members on the site.
“There is no more important work than deepening young people’s engagement in our nation.” - Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor