When she retired as a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor could have headed to the golf course or just relaxed. But she did not. Instead, she started an educational organization, iCivics, and she has been instrumental in the release and promotion of that group’s free video games — 19 of them!
iCivics is a non-profit founded by Justice O’Connor, and its goal is to “empower teachers and prepare the next generation of 21st Century students to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens.” Read the iCivics story.
The organization has also created video games along with lesson plans and resource materials that aim to fill in the gaps in students’ civics education. Unfortunately, the subject has often fallen by the wayside in many schools, so the focus of the games is to help kids learn about the different branches of government and about their responsibilities as citizens. The games encourage figuring out and solving problems rather than simply memorizing information.
In a New York Times article about iCivics, reporter Natasha Singer describes in detail how Justice O’Connor got started, what she aims to do by creating iCivics, and how she went — in her 80s — from never touching a video game to enthusiastic player and promoter. The article also shares information about the newest game, Win the White House, comments from a teacher, student, and the game creators.
Especially interesting in the article are the comments that the author shares from current Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor who uses information about iCivics when she speaks to student groups.
Best Quote in the Article
Justice Sotomayor suggested parents play the games with their children as well. “Do you know how many adults don’t know anything about civics?” she said.
Perhaps the current crop of 2016 presidential candidates should also play the games.