What it is: Looking for another super awesome learning game for your classroom? Filament Games does it again with Branches of Power. In it, students can play all three branches of government, all working cooperatively toward the goal of building new laws. As President, students will choose issues they think are important and rally people around them. As Legislator, they will create bills around the values of the constituents. As Justice, they will uphold the law or take out legislation that is unconstitutional. The only way to navigate the game successfully is to cooperatively construct laws around the issues of the country. (Our government probably has something to learn about the cooperatively part.) Students will find issues that the citizens care about. By using the three branches of government, they can grow the issues into laws which appear as towers. They win if they build all ten issues into towers before time runs out. Students get the opportunity to play as all three branches, they have to stay on top of it, if they don’t, the branch may start making decisions on its own!
How to integrate Branches of Power into the classroom: Branches of Power is a fantastic interactive game that puts students right in the thick of the government. I love that the game doesn’t ask students to choose a branch of government to play, but expects them to learn, and play, all three roles. There is nothing like experience to teach students about the different roles, struggles, and methodologies of each branch of government. Branches of Power is an excellent game for the computer lab environment where each student has access to a computer and can play individually. After play, discuss what worked well and what didn’t. Were students able to complete all 10 towers? Who got the furthest and what was the strategy that took them to that point? If you don’t have access to a computer lab, the game can be navigated as a class using a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard. Discuss strategy during game play and give each student a chance to take part in the game. This is an outstanding way to learn about the branches of government, what better way to learn than by doing?
Tips: Below the game play screen, check out the Teacher Tools tab. There are some great teacher files including a Powerpoint presentation that reinforces game concepts and a teacher’s guide to using the game in class.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Branches of Power in your classroom.