OurCourts.Org and Ideas for Games About Constitutional Law:
Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is behind a new website, OurCourts.Org, that is desiged to teach students abot the importance of the judicial system and constitutional rights. The site indicates that it will soon host two new games that students can play to learn about the Constitution and the Supreme Court:
Do I have a Right?This is a pretty interesting idea. Here are two more suggestions that I've come up with for games that the site might want to use:
In this game, students will advise fictional kids about their rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As they advance, additional rights are unlocked and the scenarios get more complex. This short game will teach students that they have important rights grounded in the specific Amendments to the Constitution.
Supreme Decision: Freedom of Speech
In this game, students will work for a Justice of the Supreme Court. They will use the First Amendment of the Constitution to help their Justice decide whether a fellow student, Ben, can be suspended from school for wearing his favorite band t-shirt. If they demonstrate good reasoning, students earn the chance to write the majority opinion for the Supreme Court. This game will ask students to explore the parameters of the First Amendments free speech guarantee so that they can assist the Justices in performing their constitutional role.
Reasonable ObserverFeel free to offer your own ideas for new games in the comment thread.
In this game, students will advise a fictional client as to how to apply the "reasonable observer" test to determine when government conduct is an unconstitutional establishment of religion. At the end of the game, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will appear and tell students whether they are right or wrong.
Supreme Decision: Count to Five
In this game, students will work for a Justice of the Supreme Court. They will use personal advocacy and negotiation to try to get five votes for whatever result the Justice wants. If they demonstrate good political skills, students earn the chance to write the majority opinion for the Supreme Court. But be careful: Better write that opinion narrowly or you might lose Tony!