The Uncommon
Iowan Center

LEARN BY doing

The Uncommon Iowan Center, one of the most highly anticipated additions to the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, will invite students to engage in immersive, digital role-playing simulations that put them at the center of a national crisis. Curated interactive games accessed from physical and virtual classrooms will merge live-action role-playing, technology, and multi-media content to create the ultimate learn-by-doing civics lessons.

Embodying characters who hold pivotal roles in national decision-making, middle and high school students will utilize a cloud-based, device-agnostic platform to solve a simulated crisis in real time. Players will debate competing priorities, make data-driven decisions, and evaluate consequences of their choices.
The collaborative approach supports students’ understanding of the country’s foundational documents and history, while also developing social and emotional competencies essential for participation in an effective democracy.

Students will:
• Use a computer, tablet, or mobile phone to join the simulation from home, a classroom, or an onsite replica of a government office. All modes of game play—in-person, virtual, and hybrid—maximize students’ connections with content and each other.
• Assume designated roles such as journalist, secretary of state, and policy advisor.
• Learn about the crisis at hand via multi-media materials, including source documents, contextually grounded news stories, memos, photos, social media content, videos, and audio files.
• Synthesize information to drive real-time interactions with other players and make decisions that shape the outcome of the crisis—no simulation is ever the same. Participants will actively message each other through the platform and will debate, discuss, and deliberate what information to share, with whom, and when.

Educators will:
• Receive facilitator guides, lesson plans, and social-emotional learning activities that promote continued engagement beyond the simulation.

HHPLM is eager to curate two exclusive scenarios that put students in the shoes of President Hoover and his contemporaries, allowing them to explore historic decisions and examine what would I have done?
Tailored scenarios would challenge students to:
• Organize humanitarian food relief during WWI and WWII
• Navigate Hoover’s policy decisions at the onset of and in response to the Great Depression
These custom simulations will complement iThrive’s library of available game-based curricula, where students separate fact from fiction as journalists reporting a hurricane threat, and weigh economic recovery versus public health as government officials during a national pandemic.

Developing, implementing, and sustaining the Uncommon Iowan Center for generations of students will require raising $2.5 million in endowed and capital funds. We are enthusiastic about earning the support of the greater HHPLM community and launching this civics experience in partnership with iThrive Sim, contributors to the popular Situation Room Experience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, and with whom we share a commitment to a world where all are positioned to reach their full potential.