Civic Education

Civics Presentations & Professional Development

Washington State Council for the Social Studies - Fall Conference 2016

October 8, 2016

Session Title: Practicing Civics: Role Playing the Political Process

How do role plays build civic skills across social studies?  Students learn to understand constraints, priorities, and negotiation among different perspectives. 

The democratic process requires that people with very different points of view work together to make decisions. By assuming the role of a stakeholder (a legislator, a lobbyist, a citizen, etc.) with a particular point of view and a specific part to play in the process, students gain a first-hand understanding of how political institutions work, while building key skills in compromise, communication, and evaluating sources of information. This session will draw on role-play curriculum developed by the Legislature as examples of how roleplay exercises involve students in learning both content and skills in civics. One key element of using roleplays as a teaching tool is creating well-defined roles with distinct positions and priorities, which require students to practice realistic negotiation and compromise skills. This role play technique can be applied across the social studies, helping students develop the skills of good citizenship in a variety of contexts.

Session Objectives:

  • Incorporate role-playing and simulations as a civics teaching strategy
  • Understand key roles and processes in state government through role play exercises
  • Apply skills and concepts from role-plays to real-life citizenship practices

Common Core:

Role plays and simulations are one of OSPI's Six Proven Practices for teaching civics. In addition, by giving students the opportunity to evaluate a variety of sources, and develop persuasive arguments and real-world compromise solutions, role plays address Common Core Anchor Standards in the social studies in Reading, Writing, and especially Speaking and Listening. Standards addressed in this session include:





Speaking & Listening




Presentation Slides 

Executive Session Roles and Documents

Executive Session Role Play Complete Lesson Plan

More like this? Check out our collection of interactive civics lesson plans and make plans to attend a summer Legislative Scholar institute or Civic Education Day in February.