Branches of Power – Building humble issues into towering laws
Branches of Power is one of eight interactive modules available from Sunnylands Civics Games. In this module students take on roles in each of the three branches of the United States government: Congressional, Executive, and Judicial. Students float among the three branches as they follow an issue from its beginnings in a public forum to local governments, then to Congress and all the way to the desk of the President.
If this is their first time visiting the site, after reading through the directions have students start by going through the tutorial. This will pre-configure the players and allow them to focus more on the government processes themselves. There are many variables, values, and interest groups that students will need to consider at each step in the legislative process. Once students have a feel for the game, have them move to the main game module where they get to configure their own players within each government branch. Students will need to, for example, select what values their legislator will fight for and what issues will make up their Executive branch’s agenda. Winning occurs when students successfully turn all ten issues into laws, represented by towers on the game board.
This site requires Flash.
- If you don’t have access to a 1-to-1 environment for students to run their own governments, then project the site onto a whiteboard and divide them up into three groups (the three branches) and have them make decisions by consensus.
- After a game session is finished, have students reflect on the choices they made and places where they could have taken a different path.