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Pros: Humor and critical thinking keep students interested throughout important legislative work.
Cons: Gets repetitive pretty quickly.
Bottom Line: As with most of the iCivics catalog, Represent Me tackles a chunk of civics well, showing kids how elected officials must work for their constituencies.
Teachers can use Represent Me! as part of a civics lesson on the legislative branch or as part of the full iCivics curriculum. It's practical since it's both quick and free, and consequently can serve as homework or be used in class. However, it's best done on an individual basis, since students will benefit from making their own decisions about how to represent their constituents.
Represent Me! is a relatively short civics game from iCivics in which students role-play legislators trying to get reelected. The student's job is to examine 12 often quite humorous bills and support those that could help their constituents, thereby garnering votes for their own candidacy in the next election. As students read each bill, they decide whether it would help young, old, rural, urban, financially secure, or financially struggling people. Plenty of tips are available to help them decide. Students then stamp each bill with the appropriate category.
After students categorize the bills, they meet five "constituents" and pick three bills that best represent the needs of those constituents. As the three bills are chosen, the game indicates how likely it is that each of the five people will vote for the student. Once all three bills are selected, students see a campaign commercial based on the bills approved. When the results are in, students are reelected -- or they're not. There's plenty of help available to keep students moving through the steps. Because of the limited number of bill possibilities, however, replayability is fairly low.
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.
With its very short learning curve and clear instructions, Represent Me! will pull in students immediately. And while it doesn't address political parties, it tackles clear issues and presents a decent cross-section of constituent groups. This helps students avoid automatically choosing one bill over another based on personal bias. They also must analyze the five voters and match them with bills that best represent them. Students then think critically about what kinds of issues might be important to different voters as they do their best to represent as many as possible. It elegantly shows the tough decisions legislators must make, but since it's laser-focused in this one aspect of civics, it tends to go quickly and not lend itself to repeat play.