What is game-based learning? 

Game-based learning is an approach to meeting students where they are. It means using video games — something many teens already engage with on their own time — as a primary text or central shared experience. Game-based learning does not mean that the game does the teaching; rather, the game offers an opportunity for teachers and students to share an emotionally impactful experience. From there, teachers use their skills to guide students in applying the themes from the game to their real lives and meeting the learning objectives of the unit. 

In which classes do educators use iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance?

This game was designed to cover core content taught in US Civics and Government classes, including AP level US History and Government classes. Learning objectives include federal vs. state rights, roles and authority, interstate commerce, interstate collaboration, state border control, and civil liberties. The themes and skills of decision-making, communication, negotiation, and leadership are applicable to all subject areas though and can be used as a fun activity to set classroom culture.

For which grades were iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance created?

This curriculum was created for 11th and 12th-grade use, but valuable takeaways have been seen in college-age students and adults that have playtested with us. We do not recommend using this in age groups younger than high school.

What core standards does iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance meet?

By using and interacting with this unit, students will learn core civics content, including state/federal rights and powers and social and emotional learning competencies such as decision making and social awareness.

What are the system requirements for using iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance?

To meet today's need for virtual classrooms, we created this unit to be as accessible as possible. You can use the platform in any browser, along with any video communication tool.

How does the classroom need to be set up?

The classroom can be set up virtually using a video communication tool, or it can be in person. Six students can play at a time.

Is the curriculum customizable?

For this program, we created turnkey instructions and pre-made materials that make it easy for you and fun for your students.

How long does the unit take to teach? 

Gameplay takes about 40 minutes. Teachers can create units as long or short as they like.

What does the curriculum cost?

Currently, the curriculum is being provided at no cost to youth-serving organizations.

Can I use this if I work at a youth-serving organization but not a school?

Yes! The themes and skills of decision-making, communication, and leadership are applicable to any group. 

My group is larger than 6 students. Can it be played with more than 6 players?

The game is designed so that students have adequate time and space to have meaningful discussion and debate over 40 minutes. If your group is larger than 6 you can run multiple games with different groups of 6 at the same time. 

How much time do I need to spend preparing my students in advance of the simulation experience?

The materials are designed for students to prepare on their own for approximately 30 minutes. Some teachers opt to supplement the minimum preparation with additional lessons and activity ideas from our website.

Can multiple groups of students participate in the same simulation?

Yes. You can enroll as many groups of six as you would like.

Can only advanced students play?

This simulation is designed for all levels of 11th and 12th grade students. Your students will gain insight and understanding whether they are in advanced programs or not.