When I was in high school, our American Government class was a semester-long simulation. This experiential instructional method is pretty standard now, but was pretty ground-breaking at the time.
We learned about how our government works by basically turning the senior class into a mock government. We did all the research ourselves and then proposed bills to committees and then during the general assembly. Many of the things that frustrated me during the simulation are things that happen in real life too (people voting with their party lines because they were uninformed, people voting without reading the bills, voting for a bill because the reps promised to vote for ours). Talk about real-world application, right?!