Help Desk

Welcome to the Help Desk. We have collected the most frequently asked questions in categories below. Still have questions? Contact us today.

FAQ

Follow this link to the iCivics Teacher Guide that walks you through the iCivics experience. Here you'll find answers to some common questions about the topics below. If your question isn't among them, please contact us and we'll do our best to get back to you quickly.

Teachers - Start HERE!

Using iCivics in the classroom

Question

What are the most popular games?

Answer

iCivics games have been played more than 5.9 million times throughout the country. Currently, our two most popular games are Do I Have A Right? and Executive Command. Check out all of our games!

Question

What are avatars?

Answer

When students create their accounts, they can customize their online personas however they like. As they play more games and earn more Impact Points, they can earn rewards that will let them customize their avatars in unique ways. Teacher accounts have avatars too!

Question

Are students rewarded for improving their iCivics skills?

Answer

Students gain achievements, compete on leader boards, and earn points that they can use to vote on different “Impact Projects.” Students can make a real-world difference because the Impact Project that earns the most collective points will receive a $1,000 donation from iCivics each quarter.

Question

How long do iCivics games take to play?

Answer

Several games only take 5-15 minutes to play. These include:

  • Power Play
  • Cast Your Vote
  • Immigration Nation
  • Represent Me!
  • Responsibility Launcher
  • Argument Wars

Some games take a little longer. Those requiring 15-30 minutes include:

  • Counties Work
  • Court Quest
  • Executive Command
  • LawCraft
  • People’s Pie
  • Supreme Decision
  • We the Jury

Many iCivics games are detailed and challenge students with multiple levels of play. Those games that require 30 or more minutes to play include:

  • Activate
  • Branches of Power
  • Crisis of Nations
  • Do I Have a Right?
  • Win the White House

Question

What are your terms of use?

Answer

Any work that was created by or for iCivics.org is copyrighted by iCivics Inc. These pages may also contain material in which the copyright is held by the creator or someone to whom he/she has assigned the copyright. Use of these materials is limited to personal study, teaching, and research. For more information visit our Terms of Use

Question

How do I create an account?

Answer

Fill out the online form. Once you confirm your account, you’ll be ready to start planning your classroom!

Question

Why should I create an iCivics teacher account?

Answer

A teacher account allows you to manage iCivics resources and track your students’ progress. iCivics accounts are free and take only a few minutes to set up. With a teacher account, you can establish virtual classrooms on iCivics.org, give your students assignments, track student progress, and manage class discussions.

You should also check out our YouTube Channel, where you can find product videos, tutorials, and more! 

Question

How comprehensive are iCivics lesson plans?

Answer

iCivics lesson plans are written by veteran teachers who have ease and functionality in mind. Individual activities are easy to manage, self-contained, and there is always something you can collect from students at the end of the period. Lesson materials are visually appealing and written in a conversational tone to foster students’ interest. They teach the material in the context of problems and issues that are relevant to students. You won't have to search for supplementary readings or type up a last-minute worksheet. Just print the materials, follow the Step-By-Step instructions, and teach!

Question

What is a webquest?

Answer

iCivics webquests are an engaging way to learn about specific civics topics. They include reading and questions with links to specific web resources that help students see how the topic relates to the real world. Webquests can be used by the whole class with a projector or interactive white board or by students working individually on their own computers.

Question

I like the content I see, but I don’t know if it will fit with my state’s curriculum standards. How can I find out?

Answer

All iCivics games, lesson plans, and web quests have been linked to standards from all 50 states, Washington, DC, and the USVI. You can search iCivics content by a specific standard by using the Standards Search

Question

I would like to use iCivics games, but I’m not great with new technology. Help!

Answer

iCivics games were designed for novices and serious gamers alike. Each game includes a printable game guide, an in-game tutorial, and a help button if you get stuck. The important part is to play a few iCivics games and get the feel for them.

Question

What major topics does iCivics cover?

Answer

iCivics provides over 17 units of study that range from the foundations of government to civil rights to international affairs. For more information about our curriculum units, check out our iCivics Scope and Sequence document!  We’re constantly adding units, so please visit www.icivics.org/teachers for the latest! 

Question

I’m a teacher and have never visited iCivics before. Where should I start?

Answer

Just click the TEACH button on the homepage and at the top of the screen. Then, you’ll see our Standards Search, list of iCivics Products and Curriculum Units, and even a special video welcome from Justice O’Connor!

You should also check out our YouTube Channel, where you can find product videos, tutorials, and more! 

Question

How do you support literacy skills?

Answer

Drafting Board is an interactive, online essay builder that helps teachers guide students through the process of clear, argumentative writing.  Some of the Drafting Board features include: audio read-aloud feature; side-by-side layout of student writing with evidence; graphic organizers that illustrate basic essay building concepts; highlighted student writing to help teachers distinguish between student contributions and the tool.  The six Drafting Board topics are designed to complement iCivics curricular units and games.

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iCivics Outreach

Question

How can I find out about news from iCivics?

Answer

Sign up for our mailing list using our online form. We email members program updates and iCivics news every month or so, since we know you get a lot of email already.

Question

I have an idea for a cool new game. How can I share it?

Answer

Simply fill out the online feedback form.

Question

I am interested in volunteering with iCivics. How can I do that?

Answer

All local iCivics outreach events are currently coordinated through iCivics State Coordinators. We encourage interested volunteers to contact their State Coordinator for information about upcoming events and other volunteer opportunities. Please feel free to email info@icivics.org with your home-state information and we will provide you with your iCivics State Coordinator’s contact information.

Question

I’d like to donate to iCivics. Will my contribution be tax-deductible?

Answer

Yes! iCivics is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Your gift will directly support the development of online, interactive civic education resources. Please visit our Donation page to make a donation online

Question

Does iCivics only do games?

Answer

No, iCivics conducts training sessions for educators and helps promote civics education through the mass media, too. You can read the latest on our News page

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New Website Questions

Question

Why did you redesign iCivics.org?

Answer

iCivics’ mission is to provide high-quality, easily-accessible educational tools for educators and their students. Our original website was launched in 2010; since then, the fundamental layout has remained the same. We've looked at the changes in the way our users access our content and we've set out to make it easier to find, use, and share what iCivics has to offer. The content is still all here - the games, engaging lessons, web quests, and the Drafting Board persuasive writing tool. If you have any further questions about our design processes or why certain decisions have been made, feel free to ask and we'll try to answer them. Please bear in mind, though, that what you see today is just the first step.

Question

What’s changed?

Answer

New clean and modern look

  • Distinct user experiences for students and teachers
  • Improved teacher experience with more support, restricted access to lesson plans, and greater ease of use
  • Unique pages for our growing collection of products that provide greater teacher scaffolding
  • Instructional materials organized into a new scope and sequence

 

Question

What’s next for iCivics.org?

Answer

We have more exciting things in the pipeline. The new Teach hub allows us to incorporate new products easily, and to continue to support teachers in using our content and tools. If you have any further questions about our design processes or why certain decisions have been made, feel free to ask and we'll try to answer them. Please bear in mind, though, that what you see today is just the first step.

Question

What hasn’t changed?

Answer

All of our great civic content remains the same. Lesson plans, games, web quests, and the Drafting Board writing tool are still available to educators and students at no cost.

You will also notice that MyiCivics pages have retained their original design. We are always working to improve the site, and the MyiCivics account structure and classroom feature is next on our “to-do list”. Although this functionality will not be available immediately on the redesigned site, we hope to be able to roll it out before the next school year.

Question

Do I need to make a new account for the new website?

Answer

No. Your current account information still works. If you don’t have an account, sign up here

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General Questions

Question

What is iCivics?

Answer

iCivics is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.

Question

Who’s behind iCivics?

Answer

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spearheaded the project in 2009 out of concern that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation and that civics teachers need better materials and support. The project now has volunteer teams in every state. To find out more about the full iCivics team, visit the links below:

 

Question

Who can use iCivics?

Answer

Anyone can access the iCivics website, and all of our resources are FREE. We hope that teachers, students, and parents will find it especially useful.

Question

Where are you located?

Answer

iCivics offices are located in Washington, DC and Boston, MA. 

 

DC Office:

2001 S Street NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC  20009

202-618-9610

 

Boston Office:

COMING SOON!

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Technical Questions

Question

Can I download the games to my computer?

Answer

No, our games are only available on iCivics.org. But some iCivics games are available on CD, which you can purchase here. Pocket Law Firm is available for free on iTunes.

Question

Can I play iCivics games on my iPad?

Answer

Pocket Law Firm, a free version of our popular game Do I Have A Right?, was developed specifically for iPad and is available through iTunes here. iCivics’ newest offering, Drafting Board, is also compatible with iPad. In addition, iCivics web quests can be navigated using iPad, and all iCivics lesson plans are in PDF format and can be viewed on iPad. The rest of our games can be played on iPad and Android tablets via the Puffin Academy app. However, we are also working on upgrading some of our games for better experience on iPad. So, please stay tuned!

Question

When I view or print a lesson, parts of the page are blocked out. How can I access the PDF?

Answer

The PDF printing issue you are experiencing is caused by a defect in the Mac Preview app. The workaround is to install the free Adobe Reader plugin. This will replace the Preview plugin and it will display and print fine. Click here to download the Adobe Reader plug in.

Question

What internet browsers does iCivics support?

Answer

In general, all browsers that support the HTML and JavaScript requirements will work, but each browser has its own little quirks that need to be specially handled. The following browsers have been tested and confirmed as compatible with the iCivics site.

Recommended Browser Versions

  • Intenet Explorer 9
  • Chrome
  • Firefox 10
  • Safari 5

Minimum Browser Versions

  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Chrome
  • Firefox 3
  • Safari 4

Question

Can I download the lesson plans and game guides?

Answer

Yes, all the curricular content can be downloaded in PDF form. All instructional materials require a free teacher account. Any work that was created by or for iCivics.org is copyrighted by iCivics Inc. These pages may also contain material in which the copyright is held by the creator or someone to whom he/she has assigned the copyright. Use of these materials is limited to personal study, teaching, and research. For more information visit our Terms of Use

Question

What do I need in order to use iCivics?

Answer

All you need is a functioning computer, Internet access, and Adobe Flash Player 10+ (which is available as a free download here). In a classroom setting, most of our games are best experienced in a multi-computer classroom or computer lab. Some games, like Supreme Decision, work well with a single computer and projector.

Question

What operating systems does iCivics support?

Answer

iCivics.org will work on Macs and PCs. For the technically inclined, below is the list of operating systems that will work with iCivics.

OS X 10.0 or later

Windows XP or later

Question

My game isn’t loading, or all I’m seeing is a white game screen. What’s going on?

Answer

iCivics games require Flash Player 10.0 or higher. If your game isn’t loading or the screen is blank, download the latest version of Flash Player. It’s free and only takes a few moments.

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Do you have an infrequently asked question?

Email us at info@icivics.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!