We the People



photos courtesy of Dave Liggett

We The People

About We the People

We the People...The Cit­i­zen and the Con­sti­tu­tion is an in­struc­tional pro­gram for High School and Middle School students which teaches the his­tory and prin­ci­ples of the Amer­i­can con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy while enhancing students' understanding of government. Students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the same time. The program is based on materials developed by the Center for Civic Education and is nationally acclaimed by educators. We the People is aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards for So­cial Stud­ies and Eng­lish Lan­guage Arts.

We the People has a built-in authentic performance assessment: simulated congressional hearings. The simulated hearings allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.

Format of Simulated Congressional Hearings

  • Students act as expert witnesses and "testify" their constitutional knowledge in the format of simulated congressional hearings. A volunteer judging panel- comprised of constitutional scholars, attorneys, and policymakers- evaluate students' responses. 


  • A class is divided into six groups, based on the six units of the curriculum.  Each group has 3-6 students, depending on the size of the class
  • Each group works collaboratively to prepare answers to all the questions for the unit.
  • Students review materials in the We the People textbook and research other materials, preparing a four-minute response to the question for each unit and to get ready to answer follow up questions related to the initial question.

Hearing (10 minutes per question)

  • Groups of students orally respond to questions for four minutes (notes can be used)
  • The judging panel asks students follow-up questions and students respond (no notes allowed) for six minutes.
  • The judging panel members assess the prepared oral presentation and the responses to the follow-up questions using a scoring rubric.

For more information and details about the We the People Program, please contact Kelly Masterson at kmasterson@oclre.org or (614) 485-3515.


We the Peo­ple text­books are avail­able for the el­e­men­tary, mid­dle, and high school lev­els to aid in the teach­ing of the cur­ricu­lum.  Visit store.civiced.org for the full se­lec­tion of books avail­able, in­clud­ing or­der­ing en­tire class sets of text­books.

The We the Peo­ple text­book is also avail­able in mul­ti­ple dig­i­tal for­mats, in­clud­ing an en­hanced e-book.  Visit www.civiced.org/resources/publications/ebooks to learn more.  For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing print or e-books, con­tact the Cen­ter for Civic Ed­u­ca­tion at 818-591-9321


We the People High School 
State Competition and Invitational


2021 State Competition and Invitational

Congratulations to the winner of the 2021 We the People High School State Competition and Invitational, Findlay High School! Findlay will go on to represent Ohio at the 2021 We the People Virtual National Finals in April.


Full Results:

            1st place: Findlay High School

            2nd place: Archbold High School

            3rd place: Ayersville High School


Thank you to all the volunteers who generously gave their time to make this event possible!


Members    $25 per class        Non-members  $70 per class 

(OCLRE membership is $30 per academic year) 


 2020-2021 WTP State Hearing Questions

As we have done for the past several years, OCLRE has also written an Ohio-specific state hearing question. This year, the Ohio question is Unit 3, Question #2. OCLRE has released a lesson plan designed to help you teach the Ohio question, which can be found here

State Competition:

  • Only classes rostered in the competition are eligible to be the state championOclrewethepeople20170127 9435
  • The state champion has the opportunity to represent Ohio at the National Finals
  • In order to be eligible for the competition, schools/teams must meet rules set forth by the Center for Civic Education, including registering an entire rostered class that has studied all six units of the curriculum

State Invitational:

  • Open to any group of students, including groups that have not studied all six units, are not a complete rostered class, or otherwise, need accommodation
  • While scores are earned, the Invitational is non-competitive and allows students the opportunity to participate without being ranked against other groups/classes
  • The Invitational follows the same format and will run concurrently with the state competition

Invitational participants are not eligible to advance to the National Finals

We the People State Competition/Invitational Hearing Questions

“In an ongoing effort to better connect We the People to Ohio students, OCLRE writes questions based on the Ohio Constitution. This effort is to bridge the Ohio state standards to learn the Ohio Constitution to the We the People Program. This question is released along with the release of the state hearing questions each fall. The class that scores the highest on the Ohio question at the state competition and invitational receives the Ohio Constitution Scholar Award.

In conjunction with the release of the Ohio Constitution question, OCLRE provides a lesson plan to help educators teach the new question and concepts. Regardless of whether you participate in the We the People program, this lesson will help as you teach the Ohio Constitution. The lesson plan for the 2020-2021 Ohio Constitution Question can be found here. For past years’ lesson plans, please visit the C3 Resources tab on our Teacher Resources page.”

The lesson is set up as an inquiry-based lesson, using an IDM, or Inquiry Design Model, template.  Your students will be looking at an overarching, compelling question with supporting questions to help them garner information to help them answer the compelling question.  A variety of primary and secondary sources are provided as a starting point to give them information to answer the questions.  Formative tasks are built in to check their understanding along the way.  


“We the People immerses the student in the content and develops critical thinking skills.” ~ Allison Papish, Strongsville High School

“This is a great experience and easy to incorporate into the curriculum.  It allows the students to show off their brains!  Parents who see the program are consistently impressed with the event and the support within the community grows.” ~ Andrea Oyer, Archbold High School

“This program allows students to get out of their comfort zone and really put forth the effort to make themselves look and sound presentable and knowledgeable about the U.S. Constitution.” Courtney Reiner, Ayersville High School

“It’s a great authentic assessment and your students will really grow through the process.” ~ Matthew Wunderle, Ravenna High School

Seeing is believing! Teachers are invited to learn more about We the People by observing the state showcase. Contact Kelly Masterson, kmasterson@oclre.org, (614) 485-3515 for more information.

We the People Middle School Showcase




2020-2021 State Showcase 


In recognition of the difficulties of teaching during COVID, OCLRE is adding extra flexibility this year to help teams participate in Middle School We the People. In lieu of the 2021 State Showcase, OCLRE will work individually with teams who wish to present to a judging panel in an alternative format.

Teams may, for instance, prepare and present the full six units on a date that is convenient for them; present any number fewer than six units; pre-record and submit videos of prepared statements for evaluation; or other options that are workable for teams. Fees will waived for teams who wish to participate in any of these alternative formats.”

Interested teachers may contact Kelly Masterson at kmasterson@oclre.org or (614) 485-3515 to schedule individual dates and times.


2021 Middle School We the People State Questions

OCLRE has chosen one question per unit for teams who wish to participate in any alternative showcase format, as described above. You may find the questions in the document below and use it to prepare for the individually scheduled presentations.

 2021 Showcase Questions


“You will see your students grow both academically and personally.  My students gained a sense of school pride and comradery completing this program.”
~ Jessica Parker, Trotwood-Madison Middle School

“It’s very worthwhile and meaningful.  The program has substance and relevance.  It teaches concepts that are vital for a thriving republic.”
~ Chris Gutermuth, Sycamore Junior High School

“The conversations you will have and the topics that come up as a result are the fundamentals for teaching and what this country is all about: Knowing about our history, country, and laws are key to a civic citizenry.”
~ Phil Hammer, Sycamore Junior High School


Seeing is believing! Teachers are invited to learn more about We the People by observing the state showcase. Contact Kelly Masterson, kmasterson@oclre.org, (614) 485-3515 for more information.



 2021 We the People Summer Institute

July 12-15, 2021

Join us for a free four-day summer social studies institute!


Using the critically acclaimed We the People program, OCLRE’S Summer Institute provides participants with the tools needed to implement the curriculum based on Ohio learning standards for grade 8 social studies and high school American government. Attendees gain applicable teaching strategies and proficiency in using primary sources in lesson plans.

The institute prepares attendees to effectively teach:

-The Constitution

-The Declaration of Independence

-Other primary source documents in American history and government


When and Where

The institute will take place July 12-15.  Each day will include scholarly lectures, presentations from OCLRE staff on teaching strategies, and small-group discussions with trained We the People mentors. The institute will conclude with an authentic assessment—simulated legislative hearings.

A decision will be made and communicated via our website and email by May 31 regarding whether the Institute will be held via Zoom or in person in Columbus. This decision will be based on the recommendation of state and local health officials. If held in person, participants will have the option of joining the Institute online via Zoom if they wish.


Registration Details

Registration is free! Participation includes a $150 stipend, a free classroom set of We the People textbooks, and, if held in person, lodging, mileage, and meals.

In order to receive the stipend, registrants must:

-Commit to attending the institute

-Participate in the hearings on the final day of the institute

-Attend a one-day follow-up meeting in the fall

-Hold a hearing in their classrooms by the end of the 2021-2022 school year


Applications are due June 11. For questions, please contact Kelly Masterson at kmasterson@oclre.org or (614) 485-3515.

Submit your application here

OCLRE is pleased to offer a curated list of resources to help with We the People classes, as well as general government and history classes.  Use these resources as written or adapt to what best suits your needs.

Content Resources

  • American Governance – A collection of scholarly articles to explore key government and We the People concepts, such as federalism, separation of powers, judicial review, Congress, the Bill of Rights, citizenship, and many others. 
  • 60-Second-Civics Podcast – A daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation’s government, the Constitution, and our history.
  • Civics 101 Podcast - A production of New Hampshire Public Radio, a podcast refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works.
  • We the People Open Course - From the Center for Civic Education, this online course features videos noted scholars covering topics from the philosophical foundations of the U.S. Constitution through the modern interpretation and application of its ideals.
  • Primary Source Documents for Middle School We the People -  This document, crafted by The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) links to primary source documents to each lesson of the Middle School We the People curriculum.
  •  Primary Source Documents for High School We the People - This document, crafted by The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) links to primary source documents to each lesson of the High School We the People curriculum.
  • Evolution of 14th Amendment - PowerPoint presentation by Prof. Chris Bryant, University of Cincinnati College of Law, at the OCLRE Constitution Camp, October 2016. 

Textbook and We the People Hearing Question Resources

AP Government & WTP correlations

Literacy Guides 

  • Middle School Literacy Guide- This guide helps middle school students with literacy skills, like vocabulary, deriving main ideas, word mapping, etc through text and graphic resources.   
  • High School Literacy Guide - This guide helps high school students with literacy skills, like vocabulary, deriving main ideas, word mapping, etc through text and graphic resources.   

Past High School We the People State Questions and Suggested Follow Ups

Lesson Plans and Graphic Organizers


We the People Best Teaching Practices - This video was recorded as part of the James Madison Legacy Project summer institutes in 2016 with new and experienced We the People teachers giving their best practices for classroom instruction (9:04)


Introduction to We the People - P.J. Babb from West Carrollton High School (West Carrollton, OH) and her students introduce We the People and how to answer a hearing question (25:18)


So what is We the People?
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is a critically acclaimed academic program, administered nationally by the Center for Civic Education and in Ohio by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE). It consists of a curriculum to teach the history, philosophies, evolution, and application of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other founding documents. The program also embeds an authentic assessment, simulated Congressional hearings, to help the students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the content.

Do you offer training so I can learn more about We the People, what it is, and how I have my students participate?
Yes!  You should attend our Constitution Camp in the fall.  This training will give teachers information about content, teaching strategies, and classroom applications for both our Moot Court and We the People programs.  If you’re unable to attend Constitution Camp, contact us and we can try to work out something on an individual basis.  Additionally, you can use the lessons/resources already available on our website. 

How do I get started?
We offer a professional development in the fall. If you’re unable to attend the professional development, contact us. We are happy to schedule individual assistance for you. Additionally, you can get copies of the textbooks to start learning the program. Contact the Center for Civic Education to learn more about ordering e-books or printed books.

What is a simulated Congressional hearing?
The simulated congressional hearing is the authentic assessment that is built into the program. Students are divided into groups which correspond with the units of the textbooks. Each group prepares answers to questions based on the themes of their unit. The groups will answer the question in a four-minute oral presentation. Judges will then Q&A the students for six minutes to further gauge their understanding and comprehension of the topic. Watch as P.J. Babb, a teacher at West Carrollton High School, explains the simulated Congressional hearing and how to prepare for it. 

Do I need the textbooks to participate?
No, the textbook is not required because all research can be done using outside resources. However, all the questions students are asked in the simulated Congressional hearing are rooted in the We the People textbook. Using the textbook will make it easier to guide the students in their research.  

I don’t want to compete, but I want to give my students the opportunity to participate.  What are my options?
You have two options:
1)If you decide not to compete, you can still participate in the non-competitive invitational. This runs concurrent to the state competition and allows schools to participate without being compared to other classes. At the middle school level, the state showcase does not rank students first, second, third, etc., but instead all participants are awarded participatory awards.
2)If you can’t come to the state competition/showcase, you can still do the program in your classroom.  Need help setting that up? Contact Kelly Masterson, kmasterson@oclre.org, (614) 485-3515 for assistance.

What if I can’t teach all the units?  Can I still participate?
Absolutely. Participating in the state showcase or invitational gives teachers the flexibility to teach the units they can get to without overwhelming the students. If you are using the hearing in your classroom, you have the flexibility to adjust to fit your students’ needs.

Are there restrictions on my students or the classes that participate?
If you are participating in the High School State Competition, an entire rostered class needs to participate. If you are participating in the state invitational or showcase, there isn’t a restriction on the make-up of your participating students. It can be an after-school group, pull-out group, partial class, etc.   

None at this time.

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