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iCivics

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required

Website: http://www.icivics.org/

Website Example: http://www.icivics.org/games/immigration-nation

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector

Activity Description

As a whole class in a classroom or in pairs, or individually in a computer lab setting, students can play the Immigration Nation game to learn about the naturalization process in the United States. In the game, players guide newcomers on their path to citizenship. The game includes text and audio, so students practice reading and listening if the teacher reads the questions, as well as speaking when they provide answers to questions either to the entire class or to classmates if the game is played in pairs or in a small group.

Preparation

  1. Play the game to predict students' questions and difficulties. Note vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to students.
  2. Although prior knowledge of the topic is not necessary to play the game, you may want to plan a short introductory lesson on the vocabulary you noted in order to teach these words to students before playing the game and on immigration, asking students questions such as the following: Why did they immigrate to the United States? What determines U.S. citizenship? Under what conditions does the United States federal government allow immigrants to enter the United States? How can an immigrant become a permanent resident? How long must a person live in the United States as a legal permanent resident before applying for citizenship? What are the benefits of citizenship?
  3. Make sure that Web site is not blocked on the computer(s) you will use.
  4. Open the game on the computer(s) and do a run-through to make sure it will work. (Many of the site's activities require the Adobe Flash player be installed.)
  5. Plan a follow-up activity, such as comprehension questions, a writing assignment in which students summarize what they learned, a letter of advice to someone who would like to enter the United States or become a citizen that explains the requirements and steps, or a flow chart and/or presentation/video/brochure on how to become a United States citizen.

How-To

  1. Tell students that as a class (or in pairs or individually in a computer lab setting) that they are going to play a game to decide which newcomers to the United States can become citizens and they will guide those who are eligible on the path to citizenship.
  2. Open the game using the Web Site Example link (above) on the classroom computer.
  3. Select "No Thanks" unless the game will played over the course of more than one class session, in which case you should register so that the game can be saved and returned to at another time.
  4. Select "New Game."
  5. Follow the on-screen directions. Choose the boats, as instructed, and choose the icons to answer whether the "immigrants" are U.S. citizens or not.
  6. Ask students the questions and elicit responses. You may choose to disable the audio by selecting the speaker icon in the top right corner.
  7. Players are provided immediate feedback on the accuracy of their selections, and progress is shown in periodic point summaries.

Teacher Tips

  • Computers will need to have Adobe Flash player  for many of the Web site’s resources.
  • Registration is not required to use the site, but for games, users should register if they want to be able to save a game in progress to return to it at a later time, or compete online with friends.
  • See the accompanying lesson plan "Citizen Me"  in the Teachers/Lesson Plans  area.

More Ways

The games can be played within one class meeting and have printable reports at the end, if used as graded activities.

Besides games, the site also offers free Web Quests for learning about the rights and duties of citizens and current issues. The Web Quests include reading, questions, and links to Web resources for students to learn more about the topics. Both the Web quests and games can be used as whole class activities by projecting them from a classroom computer or by individual students in a computer lab or out-of-class assignment.

For teachers, there are lesson plans for the curriculum units which include supplementary readings and step-by-step instructions that can be printed. The Curriculum units include the following government/civics themes:

  • Foundations of Government
  • The Constitution
  • The Executive Branch
  • The Judicial Branch
  • The Legislative Branch
  • Three Branches
  • Citizens & Participation
  • Persuasive Writing
  • BGCA Lessons
  • Budgeting
  • Civil Rights
  • International Affairs
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • State & Local Government.

View the complete list of all the site's Curriculum Units.

Levels

  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced

Standards

Basic Communication

  • (5.3) Understand an individual's legal rights and responsibilities and procedures for obtaining legal advice
  • (5.6) Understand civic responsibilities and activities
  • (5.8) Understand concepts of economics
  • (5.5) Understand the functions of government
  • (5.1) Understand voting and the political process

Basic Communication

  • (7.2) Demonstrate ability to use critical thinking skills
  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.1) Identify or demonstrate effective skills and practices in accomplishing goals
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.