Common Sense Review
Updated January 2014

Cast Your Vote

Point-and-click presidential debate goes too quickly
Common Sense Rating 2
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • In each playthrough, students ask the candidates five questions.
  • After players hear the candidates' answers, it's time to vote!
  • At the end of the game, students see how they agreed or disagreed with candidates.
  • Replay Cast Your Vote to ask different questions.
Covers relevant topics and gets students to reflect on their beliefs.
Replay value is limited to available questions, and players don't do much.
Bottom Line
It distills a debate down into a bite-sized chunk, but other iCivics games -- and actual debate videos -- dig deeper into politics.
Chad Sansing
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Though the questions are relevant and topical to current events and politics, the game itself is only a point-and-click exercise and limited to the set number of questions.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

Kids choose debate questions to ask political candidates, and decide whether the candidates lean left or right. This is a useful exercise, but limited in scope.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

As in all iCivics games, directions in Cast Your Vote are clear. Plenty of information comes back to the player.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers should use Cast Your Vote as a quick exercise to illustrate the basic process of moderated political debate, or to introduce controversial political issues as part of a unit on elections, debate, or persuasive argumentation. Unfortunately, the game doesn't capture the energy and political conflict present in most presidential debates -- it's too tame for that. There are no off-script moments, interruptions, or answers that go over their allotted time here. Consequently, it might be useful to compare and contrast the game with famous moments from real presidential debates and to discuss what's gained and lost by voters in more and less civil examples of political give and take. If students are struggling with topic generation for a persuasive writing assignment, teachers can have them play Cast Your Vote and pick the point of debate that they find most provocative.

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What's It Like?

Cast Your Vote is a brief and simple point-and-click runthrough of a political debate. Players ask the candidates five questions per game and rate the answers. At the conclusion of the debate, players vote for the candidate with whom they felt they agreed the most. When it's all over, players can review questions and answers, and see if they chose the candidate that did, in fact, best represents their beliefs.

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Is It Good For Learning?

While it's a quick and easy experience with something to offer, it's difficult to learn a lot of new stuff from Cast Your Vote. The biggest things students will learn is how they stand on some key controversial issues and how different sides of those debates articulate their positions. After studying political parties or an upcoming election, Cast Your Vote can fill in a gap in a politics or debate unit and help students understand how candidates might differ on issues. It could also be integrated in an ELA classroom that's working on persuasive writing.

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