Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014

Win the White House

Student-driven run for U.S. president makes the election process real

Subjects & skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Fun, motivating coverage of major political issues and the process for electing a president.

Cons: It's a bit lengthy, so it may get tiresome after several rounds.

Bottom Line: It'll hold students' interest, help them make tough choices, and give them a much better perspective on the nuts and bolts of presidential campaigns.

Teachers can use Win the White House as a stand-alone mini-civics lesson during election season, or as part of a larger civics curriculum. Students can play the game as a homework assignment, sharing their results in class via the printable certificate given at the end of the game. This game provides a rich context for discussion about political parties and issues, the Electoral College, and other campaign-related topics. Of course, Win the White House will shine during election season, and teachers can get students to watch election coverage, browse websites, and read newspaper articles to follow along with the real campaigns. Encourage students to then write about or discuss how the actual candidates' campaigns compare to their own from the game.

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In Win the White House, students are in complete control of their own run for the presidency. After choosing a difficulty level, they select a political party, a running mate, and important campaign issues. Next, they run in a party primary. If they win that election, they go on to a 10-week campaign season, during which they must decide where to get campaign financing and how to spend it -- on public appearances, televised advertisements, or polling. If students prioritize their spending appropriately and focus on campaigning in the right states, they will likely win the general election, accumulating enough electoral votes to beat out their opponent (the computer).

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Win the White House teaches students about the process of electing a U.S. president. Learning how to campaign in states across the country will give them an idea of how politicians make choices during election season. During the primaries, students must choose which political issues are important to them and to their constituents. During the campaign season for the general election, they'll need to make difficult choices about how and where to allocate campaign funds to attract the most popular votes. Although sometimes students will lose ground, they have 10 rounds to gain enough states (and enough electoral votes) to win the election. The game shows how quickly the tide can turn, both in students' favor and against them. After the general election, a printable certificate details for students the number of electoral votes received, battleground states, states that flipped sides, issues chosen, how persuasive and efficient the campaign was, and more. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students will enjoy the opportunity to run for U.S. president, and this lengthy yet well-rounded game will keep students involved until the very end!

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

Through thoughtful planning and informed strategic choices, students strive to win a presidential election. This kind of targeted effort and allocation of resources can easily be applied to other lessons.

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

A tutorial can be easily turned on or off. The rest of the iCivics curriculum puts the game's activities in context.

Common Sense Reviewer
Jenny Bristol Homeschooling parent

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Stephen Z. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Win the White House is a fun game that helps students apply information about the election process.

Once again icivics knocks it out of the park by taking a game that is extremely fun for students and applies information the helps them learn. The game was able to keep the students attention and they wanted to play the game again. I liked that much information about the election process is included in the game. Also, I liked how the game taught about current political situations and helped the students choose what was most important. The game should be used as an aid in teaching not as the main teaching tool.

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