Thursday, June 13, 2013

Games in Econ and Government

I love playing games!  I'm a football coach and I love the fact that I get to have the best seat in the house on Friday nights to watch the games.  I love watching football games because there is so much to be learned by watching others play the game.
How does this translate into the Econ/Gov classroom?
First off in both my AP and regular level econ and gov, I combine the classes and intersperse the units.  That way, we can constantly call on both content areas to engage the students.  Neither gets stale or "last semester."  We can always use both for current events, but most importantly, we can constantly interrelate the two disciplines and show how they work together and off each other.
My two favorite game sites are iCivics and Spent.  They bring the issues home in ways kids who play games can understand.  What's even better is that they bring the issues home to students who don't play games too!
iCivics was founded by Sandra Day O'Connor and has at least 20 games and a ton of resources like lesson plans beyond the games.  The kids love the games and will play and play and play until they get the game.  Oh, they also learn something about government and civics, too.  Talk about a win-win!
Spent was sponsored by the Urban Ministries of Durham (NC) and is extremely effective at illustrating the stark choices the working poor have to make every day and every month.  It works for the students on a number of levels including illustrating scarcity, but more importantly giving a glimpse into the lives of millions of Americans who go to work everyday.

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