Involving Students in Simulated (and Real) Democratic Processes and Procedures

Introducing Simulations



Testifying before Congress, arguing a case before the Supreme Court, participating in a town meeting, negotiating a treaty regarding fair trade—these are experiences that few students will have the opportunity to do in their lifetimes, much less while they are in school. Simulations allow students to experience and learn from these experiences vicariously, and research suggests that simulations have positive benefits. The highly regarded The Civic Mission of Schools report (Carnegie Corporation and Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2003), highlights six promising approaches that are effective in developing students' civic and political knowledge, civic and political skills, and civic attitudes. The report identifies participation in simulations of democratic processes as one of these promising approaches.

For teachers who have not previously used simulations, they can appear to be complex and intimidating. This module is designed to remove some of the intimidation factor by providing tips for using simulations, as well as information about different types of simulations, ranging from simple to complex. To learn about the benefits of using simulations and to find out how this module can help you use simulations in your classroom, click here.

This module was developed by Laurel Singleton, CELD Associate, with the support of the Center for Civic Education. We welcome your feedback; send comments to: CELD.