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For years teachers have been assigning students to create their own countries, to write a constitution outlining their own government. There’s nothing wrong with that assignment, but it is very limited. Students don’t have a chance to actually see the impact of their laws and their choices.
That’s where the online game NationStates comes into play. This game can replace or supplement the traditional create-a-government assignment. With the free online game NationStates, students can work individually or in small groups to run the government. They’re given the chance to design the basics of their government, but then they’re faced daily (or as often as you have a chance) with new issues they must respond to, simulating an actual government. As students make choices, they also face the consequences of their choices and the government changes accordingly. Students will track these changes in order to inform a reflection at the end of the simulation.
Included in this free product are teacher instructions and ideas for how to use NationStates, a form for students to track their decisions and the impacts, and a writing assignment that allows students to reflect upon their governments.
In addition to engaging students as you give them the opportunity to experience the complex decisions of running a government, this assignment also meets Common Core Literacy Standards.