An unprecedented public health crisis is unfolding. You're a government official whose constituents are scared, frustrated, skeptical, and vocal. Your colleagues have different priorities and competing political agendas. The information is changing rapidly, and time is of the essence. What do you do? 

iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance is a multiplayer simulation game hosted on the iThrive Sim platform that invites high school students in civics, history, and social studies classes to answer this question.


iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance invites high school students to play as government officials who must work together to analyze data they receive and contend with information from multiple sources to make decisions and chart a path forward.
While students play through iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance, they expand their civic knowledge of federalism and states' rights, enlisting their social and emotional skills to negotiate and compromise on decisions that drive the game forward.



Register on the iThrive Sim platform.

Click the button below and complete the registration form on the iThrive Sim website. (Note: Clicking this button will take you to a new website.)


Wait for a confirmation email.

After completing the registration form on the iThrive Sim website, you will receive an email from a member of the iThrive team confirming your registration.

Follow the steps on the Teacher Checklist.

Click the button below and follow the steps outlined in the Teacher Checklist. If you have any questions at any point, contact us at



Time NeedediThrive Sim: Lives in Balance entails:

  • 45 minutes of teacher prep
  • 45 minutes of optional pre-simulation activities
  • 35 minutes for the full simulation (can be paused/resumed at anytime)
  • 45 minutes of optional post-simulation activities

Classroom SetupiThrive Sim: Lives in Balance can be run in online, hybrid, or in-person learning environments.

If you are playing iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance in person, we recommend seating students in their session groups (see Student Roles section), facing each other so they can easily collaborate.

Learning StandardsiThrive Sim: Lives in Balance was designed for grades 9-12 and written at an 8th grade reading level.

The simulation meets state content standards, national College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) standards, and social and emotional learning competencies. View them here.

There are six student roles in iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance, five of these roles must be filled in order to play the simulation (you can drop the Commerce role if necessary).
If more than six students will be participating, divide students into groups of five or six, and run a session for each group on the iThrive Sim teacher dashboard. 
Tech Specs
The gameplay of iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance happens on a web-based, device-agnostic platform and is available in any space with access to Wi-Fi and a 1:1 device such as a laptop or tablet.
iThrive Sim was designed to function within school firewalls. If your school has advanced firewalls, please contact your IT administrator to request access to the site.

Lesson Plans
To extend and deepen the iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance experience, we recommend these civic and social and emotional learning activities which can be used before and after the scenario:

iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance was developed in partnership with the Situation Room Experience.

iThrive Sim has been made possible in part by National Endowment for the Humanities CARES: Cultural Organizations (Education). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in iThrive Sim: Lives in Balance Web resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for Humanities.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.