Citizenship: The Game is designed to help players learn and acquire the content needed to become United States citizens. Players will also enrich their English language skills by communicating with other players.
The players are aspiring US citizens seeking citizenship who must pass a 100 question exam. Players should already be enrolled in a course to teach the material; therefore players will already be familiar with the questions.
The game is designed to be played in class as a review exercise. While the player is playing the game, the job of the classroom teacher is to monitor the game and give positive reinforcement. The game can also be played at home to help students review the test material
Citizenship: The Game is an appropriate format for aspiring US citizens to learn the necessary knowledge needed to pass the United States Citizenship exam. It is an appropriate format because most candidates are nervous, even if they know the correct answer. Many suffer from test anxiety and would benefit form the game as a variation on the questioning. This game will help the player build confidence and ease them through test anxiety. The game also emphasizes oral communication, a skill they will need for the interview stage of the citizenship process. Another important aspect of the game is that the questions are not in a structured format. Players do not know what category they will be asked next. This mimics the testing format.
Two to four people play the game at the same time. Players go through the process of assembling the red, white and blue pieces of pie in their individual "American Pie" by correctly answering questions that relate to the square they have landed on after they role a die. The first player to collect one red, one white and one blue piece and makes it into the swearing in ceremony in the middle of the board games wins.
The rules to Citizenship: The Game are as follows:
Citizenship: The Game is a round board game. The game begins in a "Start" square, which is checkered and ends in "The Oath" square in the middle of the board. Each square has a colored space with a letter which corresponds to a specific category on the citizenship test. When a player lands on the category that corresponds to that letter, they will be asked a question from that specific category.
We began our design process by discussing Tim Simmons' wife's profession, which is teaching adults the content and process to become a US Citizen. From there we found out Alicia Gallegos-Butters' husband just received his US Citizenship last year. Valeri Paul and Zannette Perry agreed that they liked the idea of making a game to assist adults in a specific goal oriented task.
Once that was decided, we began following the First Steps in Board Game Design. Books and tests were brought in from the actual class so that we could become familiar with the specific questions and content prospective citizens would have to know.
The next step was brainstorming, also known as "Chunking." Here we divided the knowledge we had acquired into six categories. We began organizing our thoughts and creativity.
After analyzing what we had, we began to draft a game. We decided we did not want to reinvent the wheel, so we choose a format similar to the game Trivial Pursuit. This structure appealed to us because many people were already familiar with the structure and is easy to play and understand.
We decided to keep our questions basic and word them exactly how they are worded on the test. Following that format will enable the students to memorize and automatize the answers. Learning this information could change the quality of life for many of the individuals playing the game.
Hirschy, Margaret & Patricia (1997). The way to U.S. Citizenship. Carlsbad, CA: Dominie Press, Inc.
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