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The Game of Politics Simulation: An Exploratory Study
Unformatted Document Text:  Introduction This article describes an exploratory study which compared two methods of teaching the legislative-executive process in an introductory American Politics course. The findings compare the scores of 19 students answering the legislative-executive questions that were part of two separate tests. Both tests utilized the same two essays and 25 short answer, open-ended questions although the students were not aware that this would occur. The midterm occurred after studying the legislative-executive process using the traditional lecture-discussion and textbook format. The final exam, five weeks later, took place after students participated in the GAME of POLITICS (The Game), a simulation game. The main goals of this article are: (1) to place The Game within the context of learning theory and the utility of using simulation games, (2) to describe briefly The Game’s purpose and how it works in practice and (3) to investigate whether The Game helped students to better understanding the formal and informal aspects of the legislative-executive process. Literature Review Jansiewicz (2007, 7), the creator of “The Game of Politics,” states that “serious games allow us to seek out and discover the sophisticated principles of a complex world...We learn the principles by acting and reflecting on what we have done; we learn by doing.” His philosophy clearly encompasses the definition and purpose of simulation games. Dorn (1989, 3) defined simulation games as “activities undertaken by players whose actions are constrained by a set of explicit rules particular to that game and by a predetermined end point. The elements of the game constitute a more of less accurate representation or model of some external reality with which players interact by playing roles in much the same way as they would interact with reality itself.” One of the advantages of using this teaching technique is that it “allows reality to be reduced in size until it reaches manageable proportions, and implies that only certain aspects of the referent are chosen for inclusion. Hence simulation games contain important parts of

Authors: Kahn, Melvin. and Perez, Kathleen.
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Introduction
This article describes an exploratory study which compared two methods of teaching the
legislative-executive process in an introductory American Politics course. The findings compare
the scores of 19 students answering the legislative-executive questions that were part of two
separate tests. Both tests utilized the same two essays and 25 short answer, open-ended questions
although the students were not aware that this would occur. The midterm occurred after studying
the legislative-executive process using the traditional lecture-discussion and textbook format.
The final exam, five weeks later, took place after students participated in the GAME of
POLITICS (The Game), a simulation game. The main goals of this article are: (1) to place The
Game within the context of learning theory and the utility of using simulation games, (2) to
describe briefly The Game’s purpose and how it works in practice and (3) to investigate whether
The Game helped students to better understanding the formal and informal aspects of the
legislative-executive process.
Literature Review
Jansiewicz (2007, 7), the creator of “The Game of Politics,” states that “serious games allow us to
seek out and discover the sophisticated principles of a complex world...We learn the principles by acting
and reflecting on what we have done; we learn by doing.” His philosophy clearly encompasses the
definition and purpose of simulation games. Dorn (1989, 3) defined simulation games as “activities
undertaken by players whose actions are constrained by a set of explicit rules particular to that game and
by a predetermined end point. The elements of the game constitute a more of less accurate representation
or model of some external reality with which players interact by playing roles in much the same way as
they would interact with reality itself.” One of the advantages of using this teaching technique is that it
“allows reality to be reduced in size until it reaches manageable proportions, and implies that only certain
aspects of the referent are chosen for inclusion. Hence simulation games contain important parts of


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