March 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

ICivics Upgrades “Win the White House” Game

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A popular, interactive, and nonpartisan game that engages kids in the electoral process has been updated. Geared for grades 4–12, “Win the White House” is a free activity that enables students to create and manage their own presidential campaign, while traveling from state to state, presenting on the issues and battling for electoral votes.

First released in 2012, the game has received a significant revise for the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For the first time, players can use the game on phones and tablets across both iOS and Android platforms. The upgrade also features an expanded primary experience. In the earlier version, players simply picked their platform highlights when starting the game. Now, each candidate must earn their campaign issues through a successful performance in a mock primary debate.

Players will find greater options for personalization. For instance, a new feature allows for finer customization of candidates’ appearance, home state, party, slogan, and platform issues, so students become more invested in the process, according to the game’s creator iCivics, a nonprofit founded by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Icivics national map 600You can try out “Win the White House” in tutorial mode, selecting from versions for elementary, middle, and high school, fashioning your candidate profile, from political party to avatar, and entering “debates” on a range of campaign issues, including access to health care, pollution standards, and federal funding for education. Then it’s on to the campaign and polling, fundraising, and making appearances state by state. For starters, the activity exposes students to the concept of the electoral college through game play.

“Our democracy relies on citizen participation, yet only 40 percent of our citizens voted during the last midterm election. To secure a vibrant democracy, we need to teach all students about our electoral process and how they can participate in our democracy,” says Justice O’Connor. “Win the White House” has been played more than 3.5 million times by students and teachers, according to the site.

ICivics offers other teaching resources, including flash lessons on Congress and the judicial branch; a “drafting board” for argumentative essays; and guidance on mock elections. For more information, visit

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Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka ( on Twitter) is the Executive Editor of  School Library Journal.

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  1. This is awesome! Thank you for bringing it to my attention Kathy :)