Teacher Review for Race to Ratify

Race to Ratify is a great way to scaffold writing and arguments about the Constitution

Brian R.
Classroom teacher
East Orange Campus High School
East Orange, United States
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My Grades 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Social Studies
My Rating
Learning Scores
Engagement
Pedagogy
Support
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Further application
Homework
Individual
Knowledge gain
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
General
Special needs
How I Use It
I teach Early U.S. History, and the Constitution is always a major topic. Typically, I have my students write a persuasive essay in support or opposition to ratifying the Constitution. I now use Race to Ratify to help them understand the various arguments that they can use in their essays. We do a quick introduction on the topic, and then through playing the game they learn the pros and cons. The tokens from the game become the arguments that they can use as the topics of their body paragraphs in their essays. I follow the game with a debriefing session and the wrap-up assignment is to actually write the essays.
My Take
Overall, I love it. I've struggled in the past to make the topic come alive. It's very legalistic and abstract, and your average high school student often has trouble comprehending the ideas beyond rote regurgitation. And generally speaking, my students always struggle with how to take specific examples and abstract them out to general concepts. For that reason, I absolutely love the token system in the game. It really makes it clear the connection between the specific statement made by a character and the general argument that it relates to. This also helps scaffold writing, because students can use those tokens to then organize the body paragraphs for their essay. It makes outlining much easier. Some of iCivics games are great because they really make learning civics and government fun. On the other hand, some of the games are a bit silly and don't have a lot of educational value. Race to Ratify is definitely one of the former. It's a solid game that's enjoyable, that's easy to play, that's not too long, and that has very clear and useful educational purposes. I would highly recommend you give it a try this year when you get around to teaching the ratification debate.