Abbreviated from: Mind/Shift Article,
"5 Online Games that Teach Kids the Art of Persuasion"
with opinions added by Amy Wichman (who eliminated two of the five)
“The five games model the work of argumentation. Best of all they approach the subject critically, showing the myriad of uses for persuasion and how it’s always political.”
Quandary for students ages 8 -14
Take time to watch the video at this homepage of the game. The game forces students to separate facts from opinion. A great “boost” when doing a lesson on argument and opinion. Students play it online and try to make the best decision for the community even though there is no clear right or wrong answer. It appears sophisticated and logical with a terrific teacher’s guide.
Citizen Science for 6th-8th grade students
Citizen Science is an online flash-based computer adventure game in which the player is a young adult who becomes concerned about the health of a local lake threatened by eutrophication. Based at Lake Mendota in Madison, WI, the player's goal is to restore the lake. By focusing on the ecological needs of Lake Mendota as well as the surrounding community, the game is able to bring together real-world issues and scientific practices.
The player has to “build sound arguments” after talking to characters in the game, using the words, “because and although” to make sound arguments. The point is, some are arguments and others opinion. It’s a little difficult to figure out at first, but certainly students immersed in the game will gain insight.
Argument Wars for students in grades 7th-12th
This game is debate style, where the players become the lawyers in real court cases. What really works is the engagement with the arguments and the player’s ability (or inability) to dig into real cases and arguments with the US Constitution. Players do need an account, but even if students spent 15-30 minutes playing they the lesson is engaging, informative, and fun.
This same company has LOTS of engaging games – including Branches of Power, Supreme Court, and Rights. The website is DEFINITELY worth checking out for Social Studies education.