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Simulations of Democratic Processes Toolkit

Simulations of Democratic Processes Toolkit

Simulations of democratic processes allow students to “do civics” in a safe environment to learn and practice knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Simulations should be used wisely. We recommend simulations that have students take on roles of civic actors in mock trials, legislative hearings, or town halls, not personas or perspectives that could cause trauma or harm to others.

Simulations vary in time, preparation, and scope. Some simulations require background information, other simulations build background information as they progress. Many online games from providers like iCivics, provide structured simulations that can be used in traditional, remote, or hybrid classrooms.

Watch this one-hour webinar for an overview of this proven practice of civic education.

Strategies to Create a Climate for Simulations of Democratic Processes

IllinoisCivics.org has curated resources to Create a Safe and Reflective Classroom for teaching civics. Resources include strategies for engaging student voice in creating and maintaining norms.

Preparing Students for Simulations of Democratic Processes

The Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools published by The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of School outlines six proven practices of civic education, including simulations of democratic processes.

Teachers can prepare for success in simulation by creating learning experiences that help students:

  • Understand the essential and supporting questions related to the simulation.
  • Identify the learning standards (disciplinary content and/or skill) to be employed in the simulation.
  • Analyze appropriate materials to acquire the background information necessary to fulfill role expectations.
  • Pinpoint the pertinent civic dispositions and processes inherent in the simulation.
  • If you would like deeper learning and training in this proven practice, register for the free Guardians of Democracy Microcredential Course on Simulations of Democratic Processes.

Professional Development Resources from Illinois Civics