Democracy At Play – Constitution Day Challenge

This is a logo for the iCivics Democracy at Play challengeCheck out iCivics’  Democracy at Play challenge!

National Constitution Week is September 17-22. To celebrate, we are partnering with iCivics, the nation’s leading provider of civic education, to help America raise its game. The Constitution is the heart of our democracy, but how well do we really know the rights it guarantees? Let’s find out. We’re challenging you to test your Bill of Rights knowledge. It’s easy, fun and FREE. Just click here to play iCivics’ game Do I Have a Right? in English or Spanish. Post your final score on Twitter or Facebook with #DemocracyAtPlay and tag two or more of your friends and challenge them to beat your score. The reward? A refresher on our shared rights  – and, of course, bragging rights. You’re welcome to just play the game, but playing this game with your family, acting as a facilitator for a group, and then filling out the survey at the end will not only increase your knowledge, but also contribute to iCivics’ research goals. Read on to learn more!

iCivics challenges you to play "Do I Have a Right?"
iCivics challenges you to play “Do I Have a Right?”

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to promote civic education. iCivics is a completely free digital platform, offering experiential games and other educational resources, including curricula.

iCivics seeks to reach every middle and high school student by 2021, combating inequitable and uninspiring civic education. Democracy at Play is a key part of this mission, enabling inter-generational play for kids, parents, and grandparents, with resources in both English and Spanish. Kristen Chapron, the English Language Learning (ELL) Project Lead at iCivics, emphasizes the importance of this language equity. She told SciStarter that Spanish language resources help to reach the over 3.4 million Spanish-speaking ELLs currently under-served by social studies educational resources. “Social studies teachers are limited in the high-quality resources available to them. Our teachers told us they use iCivics for their ELLs, but wanted resources designed specifically for them, which is why we added supports and a Spanish-language version to two of our popular games: Do I Have A Right? and Immigration Nation.”

The inter-generational focus is also a vital approach. According to Chapron, the Democracy at Play challenge is an attempt to increase iCivics’ reach among adult learners, especially adult ELLs, by leveraging iCivics non-partisan and well-crafted games. “Specifically, we intend to target under-served populations of adult learners, with a focus on reaching Spanish speaking immigrant populations, to yield tangible results. Research shows that, in Spanish speaking immigrant populations, inter-generational transfers of knowledge and language are significant; more specifically, these happen through family interaction.” The iCivics team bases this strategy on research indicating that family interactions of this type lead to higher civic engagement for new, Latinx immigrants.

If you want to play with your family, head over to the Family Page. También puedes jugar en español.

After you play with your family, you might be inspired to host an event. Make sure you head over to iCivics for a Facilitator Guide (available in both English and Spanish), and other resources, including iCivics’ “Game Sandwich” guide for a reflective experience and the game challenge survey, which iCivics uses to do research and improve their resources.According to Chapron, the nonprofit will use this survey data “to assess the impact game play has on adult players and the degree to which it motivates them to undertake further civic engagement.”

Chapron sees this challenge as in line with one of iCivics’ long-term missions. “We are building a coalition of partners, funders, and stakeholders to bolster adult civic engagement in our democracy. Because iCivics is expanding to new channels in which civic learning can take place, this project has the potential for widespread and sustainable impact. Technology can scale new and effective solutions. iCivics wants to expand its own innovative platform to reach adults and expand our network, which in turn will help brainstorm future projects and possible partners.” What are you waiting for? Get out and engage in the Democracy at Play challenge today!

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

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About the Author

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson is a Master of Public Policy student at American University with a focus on environmental and climate change policy. She is passionate about science communication in the policy space and engaging citizens and voters. Caroline currently serves as secretary on the national board of the Commission on Local Debates (localdebates.org), an emerging nonprofit seeking to leverage technology to make debates for local elections better and more accessible. She also works as a textbook and curriculum development consultant for the University of Florida Psychiatry Department. In her role there, she is a project manager for the Christensen Project, which honors and furthers Dr. Richard C. Christensen's legacy of advocating for homeless and under-served individuals.