A fan of politics?! That’s right, especially when you can draft U.S. states or Congress and learn how the American game really works.
Think Fantasy Politics and Fantasy Congress for school.
If you teach your state’s history, this is also a good way to engage players in that content while keeping them all learning from current events nationally.
In addition to becoming more aware of the news about states and the legislative process, here are a few fantastic ways we’ve seen All-Star Teachers use FANpolitics to turn students into fans of civic competence:
Study Federalism through $$$ in your states.
If you’ve ever explored the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debate within the American Constitution, you’ll understand how complex and reflective the American system of federalism is.
All-Star Teacher Stephanie Middleton uses this half sheet to get students researching data like this.
How Much Do States Rely on Federal Funding?
As Congress debates the budget, states are eagerly waiting to hear how it will affect them. Updated data from the…
Which States Rely the Most on Federal Aid?
Taxes are perhaps the most apparent source of state revenue, as they constitute the vast majority of each state's…
Other relevant questions that coincide with current events:
How much money does your state get for education? Is that why Teachers are protesting and running for political offices?
Why is a national healthcare system so controversial?
Why are states still upholding a climate agreement when the federal government is not?
What’s all the talk about a “government shutdown” all the time?
Research American history, like Native American rights, in your states.
There were tens of millions of people here before European “discovery”. By 1650, however, the native population declined to less than six million (for context, that’s the same number of Jews systematically annihilated by the Nazi regime during World War II).
Utilize data like this to get students thinking more deeply about American history and public policy:
List of Indian reservations in the United States
Most of the tribal land base in the United States was set aside by the federal government as Native American…
State-recognized tribes in the United States
State-recognized tribes are Native American Indian tribes, Nations, and Heritage Groups that have been recognized by a…
See the FANpolitics folder of our shared Activities Drive to access handout samples to copy and edit however you need.
Organize a Colonial league, a Women’s Rights league, a Civil Rights league, etc…
If you want students to remember the 13 colonies, try drafting them! See how All-Star Teacher Morgan Green does this.
Search the web for “women’s rights by state” or “civil rights by state” and click Images to see more ideas of state-by-state topics to dive into learning about.
Follow up questions: Do you know how quickly your state gave women the right to vote a century ago? How does it compare to this data? Can you name a woman business CEO, other than Oprah?
The Library of Congress wants your help here too, which could be fun:
The Library of Congress Needs Help Transcribing 16,000 Pages of Suffragist Diaries, Letters, and…
Sometimes when the true origin of a word isn't known (and sometimes even when it is), entirely fictitious theories and…
Or get students working in teams of 5 to draft the 15 states in the “Civil Rights Trail” to learn more about the places that made the most history then.
You could also use this map to draft all the historic civil rights sites in the National Register of Historic Places.
Then, redraft and research what was happening in northern cities at the same time.
Is this why Martin Luther King Jr. went to Chicago, Illinois, and replied, “I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I’ve seen here in Chicago”?
How have these places improved? What hasn’t improved as much yet?
These learning leagues would be especially fitting as “Harriet” debuts to teach us all more about the states of Underground Railroad:
Locate and learn about the Federal Court System in your states.
First, locate any and all Federal District or Federal Appeals Courts in your state.
List of United States district and territorial courts
There are 94 active United States district and territorial courts. Each of the 50 states has between one and four…
United States courts of appeals
The United States courts of appeals or circuit courts are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States…
Then, use a state outline to draw a dot and label it with the city name for each court.
Color code courts: Red for District, Blue for Appeals
Learn more about state Congressional Districts by researching where you might want to live.
Choose a state and a Congressional District that you would like to live in.
Does it have the employment opportunities that you are looking for? Is it a rural or urban area? Are you looking for warm weather or cold? Do you want to live in the mountains or near the beach? Is it a red district or a blue one?
See how the All-Star Teachers at Halstead High School in Kansas do this!
Get students civically engaged in your state by recognizing positive actions in fun ways.
In addition to drafting states, you can also draft U.S. Congress members and score points for legislation.
We’re working on turning the world’s open data into scoring metrics as understandable as batting average and gamifying positive student learning habits: Let us know what else you come up as we all turn students into fans of learning!