You Too Can “Win the White House”
An online educational game for students and everyone by iCivics
iCivics, one of the largest classroom-based digital civics educational resources in the country, has released an updated version of Win the White House , the popular game that teaches students the electoral process by putting them in the driver’s seat of their own presidential campaigns.
Win the White House is a free interactive game designed for classroom use in grades 4-12. The game teaches students the whole process of running for office by letting them create and manage their own presidential campaigns. From the primaries through the general election, the game challenges students to strategically raise funds, poll voters, launch media campaigns, and make personal appearances—all while keeping a close eye on the map as they travel from state to state battling for electoral votes and popular support.
Released in 2012 in the lead up to the last Presidential election, the game has been played more than 3.5 million times by students and teachers. Just in time for the 2016 election, it is receiving a major facelift, making it more immersive and engaging for this year’s race. The relaunch will also allow students to use the game for the first time on mobile devices and tablets across both iOS and Android platforms.
Unlike teaching the elections through classroom lecture or textbook readings and worksheets, Win the White House empowers students to engage with the process. Players develop a nationwide campaign strategy, while experiencing first-hand the challenge of momentum building, battleground states, and being in the right place with the right message. Rather than being told that public opinion and fundraising ability can affect a candidate’s viability, the game allows them to see and feel the effects of how everything can benefit or hurt a run for the Oval Office.
“Our democracy relies on citizen participation, yet only 40 percent of our citizens voted during the last midterm election. To secure a vibrant democracy, we need to teach all students about our electoral process and how they can participate in our democracy. Win the White House is exciting for students but most of all a powerful tool for teachers to do just that,” Justice O’Connor said.
Created by educators and piloted in classrooms, Win the White House reflects the challenges surrounding teaching the election in today’s politically divisive climate. It is completely nonpartisan and designed to teach in a way that allows educators to teach politics without the fear of a political agenda entering the classroom. It does not seek to influence students to choose one party or platform over another. Instead, it gives students the tools to make decisions and develop a personalized pathway to success by choosing their party and the issues they care about as they build their candidate’s platform. It was designed to be played in a traditional class period, so it easily fits school scheduling.
“Our goal is to help teachers inspire their students to connect with the election by running their own campaigns. Students choose a party and their election platform and then support the platforms with issues aligned to their campaigns,” said iCivics’ Executive Director, Louise Dubé. “I think we can all agree that now is an especially critical time to engage young people in the electoral process.”
“I do not think that calling Win the White House a game is an accurate description of the students’ experience. I would say the level classroom engagement was in the realm of a full blown simulation in which each student participates equally,” said District of Columbia Public Schools Social Studies teacher, Paul Howard. “Instead of the usual reading and drilling, my students were exposed to the electoral system for the first time through Win the White House. As a result, I saw increased student engagement, understanding, and future applications of their knowledge when it came time to read and write.”
For more information and to try the game, visit www.iCivics.org
iCivics is a non-profit organization committed to transforming civic learning through effective and inventive resources. iCivics was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to develop free educational video games and lessons that teach young Americans to be knowledgeable, curious, and engaged in civic life. iCivics’ game-centered curriculum provides K-12 students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action. Today iCivics’ innovative resources are used by over 110,000 educators and more than 3 million students nationwide, making iCivics one of the largest classroom-based digital civics educational resources in the country. For more information, visit www.icivics.org.