Heat and ICED: Illegal Immigration

Trying to get kids to think through the debate around illegal immigration? To spark the discussion, why not read aloud or listen to Mike Lupica's novel, Heat (Philomel, 2006)? The story features a pair of baseball-loving brothers from Cuba and allows you to live the stress and fear they endure in New York after their father dies.

Then, in November, check out ICED, a free online game created by Breakthrough. The game was based on ideas pitched by about 100 students in NYC schools and uses some of their voice talents. Andres Amerikaner (interesting name) of the Miami Herald reports:

The game lets one player roam a virtual metropolis modeled after New York City. If you make good choices -- for example, not jumping the subway turnstiles or stealing from convenience stores -- you'll earn points that will keep you on the streets.

Players can also boost their points by walking into a language center, by recycling or by correctly answering questions along the way. The more points earned, the fewer immigration officers chasing you down.

Eventually -- it's virtually inevitable -- you'll be arrested and taken to a second level, the detention facility.

Here, players must avoid getting into fights, starting hunger strikes or signing a voluntary deportation letter. At the end, players will face a judge who will determine their fate.

The not-yet-released game is already controversial, as some complain that it portrays the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers as the bad guys. Check out this interview on FOX with Breakthrough's director, Mallika Dutt:

More resources to teach/think about immigration (links via SCORE):