Consider pairing or grouping students in threes while they play so they can chat, ask questions, and tap one another as research partners. Have them rotate through roles as they play the game. One plays, and the others record confusing concepts on-screen or new vocabulary like "What's an amendment?" Students could also research new Supreme Court cases and create a version of the game offline that can be played by the whole class, giving each a chance to play roles like plaintiff, defense, judge, and jury.
Don't miss the opportunity to browse the iCivics Impact Competition, where players can apply points earned during several iCivics games to support social impact projects from youth around the world. Longer term, consider having students create and submit a project of their own!Continue reading Show less
Argument Wars is like taking your favorite television courtroom drama and melding it with Wii Tennis; it’s a game of back and forth, but mental rather than physical. Picture your bobblehead-like avatar lobbing supports for a structured argument until one -- the plaintiff or the defense (players can choose to portray either) -- topples the other, earning points for a sound argument and reasoned objections.
Players first choose a case, then decide what amendment or article to the U.S. Constitution best underpins their arguments. Choosing the right amendment earns points, but smacks a bit quiz-like. Players are then presented with a preview of their opponents’ arguments, helping them choose wisely from a set of cards they can play when presenting their positions. Players can also choose to object to opponents' arguments -- but should be careful, as only sound objections earn points and poor ones can get penalized by the judge.
Full Disclosure: iCivics and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.
Without question, this game is great for learning. Cases are based on actual Supreme Court cases but infuse ethical content sure to engage teens. In one case, students' right to privacy is called into question. One side argues on behalf of the student -- stating that kids should have the same basic rights as adults -- and the other argues that principals have an obligation to balance individual rights with the well-being of the entire school. Players can argue either side, allowing opportunity for empathy-building and perspective-taking.
Printable certificates display case stats like play time, date, total points, and number of correct objections for assessment. Badges are also awarded after each level, but they serve just to mark progress for the player.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.