Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2019

That's Your Right

Card game gets students to wield the power of the Bill of Rights

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
6–12
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Pros: Addresses every amendment; very replayable; students can play each other.

Cons: The tutorial could better explain gameplay, and it could use some extensions materials.

Bottom Line: This is a high-quality, surprisingly fun way to see how the Bill of Rights relates to everyday situations.

Teachers can use That's Your Right to solidify students' knowledge and understanding of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It's perfect for a civics, government, criminal justice, or U.S. history class. It'd work best in classrooms that have already achieved a basic understanding of the history and function of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including some time dedicated to studying each of the first 10 amendments. With that in place, students could hop into the game. Have younger students or those new to the game play against the AI, but challenge older or more experienced students to play against each other. For those classrooms that haven't dug deep into the Bill of Rights, try alternating in-class learning about specific amendments with gameplay that focuses just on those amendments. Since a big focus of the game is on connecting the Bill of Rights to actual scenarios in which it offers protections, teachers could extend learning with lessons on current events. For example, have students find news stories that relate to specific amendments and explain their connections.

That's Your Right is part of a larger set of sources offered by Annenberg Classroom. Make sure to check out the teacher materials, including lesson plans, a Constitution Guide, in-depth information on some Supreme Court cases, and other educational materials such as videos and other games. 

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That's Your Right is a digital card game that focuses on the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. The object of the game is to make connections between the rights covered in the amendments (or portions thereof) and what they protect, using modern scenarios like the police shutting down a silent protest or being asked to testify against yourself in a trial. Play begins with a brief tutorial, which orients students to the game layout. This might work for students familiar with similar card games (like Hearthstone), but for most it's a bit inadequate, and students will need help from the teacher, or just experimentation, to learn the rules.

During play, students must gather amendments and match them up with situation cards from their deck before placing them on the table. If the amendment they chose is relevant to the situation on the card, they will score that card at the end of that round. Otherwise the card will "sleep" that round and score on the next one. Cards can add points to your score, add or take points away from your opponent's score, or both. Players can also remove unprotected cards from their opponent's cards by playing a matching amendment on them. Gathered amendments can be played only once per turn, so some strategy comes into play. There are also character cards featuring people like Abigail Adams and Benjamin Franklin. They have actions such as adding points to your score, increasing the scoring points of a card, or removing an opponent's card. Players can play as many cards on their turn as they want or are able to before clicking End Turn. Players are automatically dealt additional cards each turn, with their power increasing the more correct matches they make.

Students can play a live opponent or against the game's artificial intelligence (AI). If they play against AI, players can choose a difficulty setting and also select which five amendments (or parts of amendments) they want to use in that game; they can also opt to use randomly selected ones.

 

This is a useful teaching tool for the Bill of Rights, specifically for how they apply to students' lives. The clever mechanic of matching amendments to modern dilemmas motivates students to think critically about the Bill of Rights, and shows students the relevance of their protections. To do well, students must also use a fair amount of strategy, using their collected amendments to net them the most points possible (or decrease their opponent's count). In later rounds, that can mean trashing one of your own cards to replace it with a higher scoring one. In this way, That's Your Right offers a good mixture of content learning with skills learning.

Fair warning: This experience can lead to some frustration, especially for students without prior exposure to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ideally, students would play this game to reinforce or extend previous lessons. Also, while the game itself is well designed and has a lot of polish, the tutorial is lacking. Students familiar with popular card games like Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering will have a definite leg up and should take quickly to the game. However, students who have no experience with card games might be quickly left behind. Teachers will likely want to offer some direct instruction on how to play, perhaps even enlisting some more experience card game players in the classroom to help their peers.

Overall Rating

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

It starts slow, but once students understand how to play, they'll enjoy using strategy -- and their knowledge of the Bill of Rights -- to win.

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

Players become more familiar with both the purpose of the first 10 amendments and how they apply to rights in our society. Additionally, there's plenty of opportunity to practice strategic thinking.

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

There's a brief tutorial, which could be more thorough. The main site, though, has plenty of high-quality, on-topic materials for teachers to incorporate as needed.


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