Class Games for Political Science Students

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Political Science is an interesting topic that many students enjoy, both as a major and an elective. Coming up with class games for political science students, however, can be a difficult task as it is not a subject that easily translates into a game and requires substantial memorization. However, with a little brainstorming, a number of enjoyable ways exist to play class games in the subject of political science.

1 Match the Government

A great way to make political science fun for students, while encouraging memorization, is to make up a small game challenging teams to match 20 countries with their corresponding government style. For example, you may describe Germany as possessing a bicameral legislature fashioned after the American Congress. This description would be in a list of other descriptions, each corresponding to a different country. Teams receive a point for each match they have correct.

2 Guess My State

A great game to play for a political science class is Guess My State. The rules are simple, each student receives a card randomly assigning him to a particular state. Students then have a few minutes to write down a list of facts about that state, using their textbook or computer. They stand at the front of the room, and each fellow student asks one question and makes one guess as to the identity of the state. The questions should encourage the students to understand what key differences exist between states. If they guess the state incorrectly, they become disqualified.

3 Build-a-Government

Another interesting game for a political science class is to encourage students to work together in groups to build a government. For each decision that they make, for example vesting power to elect an executive in the upper-house of a bicameral legislature, they must provide a compelling reason. Using the aforementioned example, a student group might make the argument that the legislators best represent the will of the people, so having them elect the executive eliminates the redundancy of having the people elect both legislative representatives and executives. Other groups should give comments and ask questions, and the rest of the class rates each team. The team with the highest ranking wins.

4 Role Identification

Similar to the government-style matching game, a game of role identification can teach students of the divisions of responsibility in a federal system. Have students identify who is responsible for maintaining roadways and bridges, and why this might be the case. For an added challenge, take the game internationally. Ask students, for example, which government would be responsible for installing a street light in Paris, France.

Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.