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Gaming the System: Nine Games to Teach American Government through Active Learning
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Gaming the System: Nine Games to Teach American Government through Active Learning (Paperback)

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Gaming the System takes an active approach to learning about American government, using novel, exciting, and highly instructive games to help students learn politics by living it. These timeless games are the perfect complement to a core textbook in American government-covering key topics like the Constitution, the Supreme Court, Congress, political participation, campaigns and elections, the federal bureaucracy, the social contract, social movements, and public opinion-and can be applied to specific courses at other levels, as well.

For Instructors: These nine games are designed to be easily inserted into courses, with all but one fitting into one class session and all flexible enough to adapt or scale as needed. Games are designed so that students will be ready to play after minimal preparation and with little prior knowledge; instructors do not need to design or prepare any additional materials. An extensive instructor-only online resource provides everything needed to accompany each game:

summary and discussion of the pedagogical foundations on active learning and games;

instructions and advice for managing the game and staging under various logistical circumstances;

student handouts and scoresheets, and more.

For Students: These games immerse participants in crucial narratives, build content knowledge, and improve critical thinking skills-at the same time providing an entertaining way to learn key lessons about American government. Each chapter contains complete instructions, materials, and discussion questions in a concise and ready-to-use form, in addition to time-saving tools like scorecards and 'cheat sheets.' The games contribute to course understanding, lifelong learning, and meaningful citizenship.

Alexander H Cohen is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. He is an avid board and video gamer, and regularly uses active learning in his classroom. His research interests include the effect of weather on political outcomes, institutional assessment, pedagogy, and zombies. His most recent book was entitled Living with Zombies. John Alden is a social studies teacher in the Williamsburg Community School District in Iowa. He teaches 9th and 12th graders, covering the topics of geography and government. He earned his master's degree in social studies education from the University of Iowa, where he also met his coauthors. Jonathan J. Ring is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and a Global Security Fellow in the Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee.

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