The Game of Politics©

American Government Simulation

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The Game of Politics© American government simulations use role playing to make American politics come alive.  These national government classroom and online simulations create an active learning experience, and are appropriate for upper secondary and higher education government classes, continuing education courses, civic education conferences, community organizations or elder hostel.

Click here to see recent research on the simulation's dramatic impact on student learning of traditional course content.  These gains are in addition to the simulation's impact of greater student involvement with the subject matter.

"The simulation makes all the complexity of real politics come alive through an absorbing and emotionally charged exercise that masterfully weaves personal, political and public issues together.  As the student players progress day by day though the game, they personally experience the lessons to be learned and come away with a depth of understanding beyond that of a traditional classroom experience.  This simulation is the next best thing to an actual internship, and in some ways better, because the entire class experiences the political drama together, generating interesting discussions long after the game and class have ended.”

Elaine Barnard-Luce, Media

Click the navigation buttons to examine materials from both the macro and micro simulations.  Read evaluations from participants and coordinators, take the simulations on a test drive, get answers to frequently asked questions, contact the author or find out how to place an order.

Set a few years in the future, The Game of Politics©  macro simulation (3-12 sessions) is a comprehensive and cost-effective simulation of American government that includes all three branches of the national government.  This macro simulation brings the subject matter to life and enables the 15-75 participants to gain an insider’s view of our political process.  This simulation game has been carefully designed and tested to produce an effective active-learning experience.

A typical session of The Game of Politics© macro simulation begins with a media report on events from the previous session.  This is followed by press conferences from participants and “outsiders” who give a human face to the Story Lines.  Then participants divide into legislative, executive and judicial work groups to generate policy decisions.  During work sessions participants receive material from Story Lines reflecting a volatile political environment. Then, the participants make decisions based on their best assessment of the situation.  

The micro simulation alternatives to the macro simulation use material from the original game and are full-featured, but allow users to run even smaller and shorter simulations. These three micro simulations focus on the overall legislative process (19-52) the dynamics of presidential decision-making (5-8) and the politics of Supreme Court decision-making (8-16) . Yet, even these micro simulations place activities within a larger context of public policy debates through Story Lines and an active media role.  Participants never lose sight of the big picture.  

The Game of Politics© macro simulation is best suited to survey courses or conferences (15-75 participants) where you wish to be more comprehensive, have plenty of interaction between branches, plus have the possibility of up to 12 sessions.  The micro simulations are best suited to upper level or highly specialized classes or focused introductory courses with generally smaller enrollments (most are in the 5-16 range) and can be accomplished in fewer sessions.

Click on the How to Order button on this web page for more information on available alternatives.

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All simulations have been class tested to ensure that effective learning takes place and they can be “plug and play” experiences for the simulation coordinator.  Classroom versions (whether on paper or CD-Rom) come complete with all manuals, a liberal site license and two sets of Story Lines.  Online versions include all manuals a liberal site license and Story Lines that are organized for easy uploading to a web platform or email accounts.

The Game of Politics© is being used at undergraduate, graduate and secondary educational institutions in the United States and abroad (from Japan and Viet Nam to Bahrain).   It has also been selected for presentation before the (1) American Democracy Project, (2) American Political Science Association, (3) International Civic Education Research Organization, (4) APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, (5) Midwest Political Science Association, (6) National Center For Political Engagement, (7) Northeastern Political Science Association, (8) Southwestern Political Science Association and (9) Eastern Community College Social Science Association.

RECENT RESEARCH

ABSTRACT: THE GAME OF POLITICS SIMULATION: A REPLICATION by Kathleen M. Perez and Melvin A. Kahn, Wichita State University (2009 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association)

This paper is a replication of an exploratory study which sought to evaluate Professor Don Jansiewicz’s GAME OF POLITICS (The Game) simulation as a learning tool for better understanding the legislative-executive process. Our original study used legislative-executive process questions as part of two separate examinations.  The midterm examination was given after using the traditional lecture-discussion method and a widely-used American Politics textbook.  The final examination was administered after a series of five simulation class sessions. Both examinations utilized the same two essays and 25 open-ended questions although the students were not aware that this would occur. The original 2007 findings showed that students, on average, scored much higher on the two essay questions and the 25 additional items on the final examination when compared to the midterm results.  Means increased in value while standard deviations decreased in size.  A limitation to the original study, however, was the small number of cases.  Only 19 students took both the midterm and the and the final examinations at the scheduled times.

Given this limitation, the study was replicated one year later using another American Politics course taught by the same instructor who used the exact same course structure.  In the second course, 23 students took the midterm and final exam at the scheduled times, and the findings were extremely similar to those in the original study. The implications of these findings are discussed.

ABSTRACT: THE GAME OF POLITICS SIMULATION: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY by Melvin A. Kahn and Kathleen M. Perez, Wichita State University Journal of Political Science Education Vol. 5 Issue 4 October 2009

This paper is an exploratory study of Professor Don Jansiewicz's GAME of POLITICS (The Game) simulation. The course instructor employs The Game in his introductory American Politics class as a learning tool for better understanding the legislative-executive process. Our exploratory study used legislative-executive process questions as part of two separate multiquestion examinations. The 75-minute midterm examination was given after using the traditional lecture-discussion method and a widely used American Politics textbook. The 110-minute comprehensive final examination was administered after students had participated in The Game over five consecutive 75-minute class sessions toward the end of the semester. In preparation for each examination, students were given detailed study guides that included 20 possible essay questions and 40 possible short-answer, open-ended questions. Although the students were not aware that this would occur, both examinations included the same two essays and 25 open-ended questions along with other questions.

The findings consistently show that students, on average, scored higher on the two essay questions and the 25 additional items on the final examination when compared to the midterm results. Means increased in value while standard deviations decreased in size. The possible implications of these findings are discussed.

EXTRA BENEFIT

 Terra Nova Simulation

Terra Nova© is a free and flexible simulation for Introduction to Politics courses, Political Theory courses and conferences that is given to those who order any version of The Game of Politics© simulation.  Terra Nova© places students in the situation of being on a spacecraft that has left Earth to establish a base camp on a new planet and design a new world, after it is discovered that the Earth will be destroyed by a star moving towards our solar system.  In Terra Nova© simulation, students will have the opportunity to start all over again and plan a new world.

 

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Don Jansiewicz, the author, has decades of experience in designing Political Science simulations.  He has previously published The New Alexandria Simulation: A Serious Game of State and Local Politics (Harper and Row).