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 We the People program, contact Cheyenne Oechsle (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (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
High School We the People State Competition & Invitational
2023 State Competition
The 2023 We the People State Competition and Invitational will be held Friday February 3, 2023 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, OH.
Contact program coordinator Cheyenne Oechsle (email@example.com) on how to get involved.
Members $55 per class Non-members $80 per class
(OCLRE membership is $30 per academic year)
2022-2023 Hearing Questions
The 2022-2023 High School We the People Hearing Questions have been released. Each year, OCLRE eliminates one of three provided hearing questions from each unit. Competition teams must complete both questions from all six units to be eligible for the State Championship.
The hearing questions for the 2023 State Competition and Invitational can be found HERE!
- Only classes rostered in the competition are eligible to be the state champion
- 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
- 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
Ohio Question & Inquiry Design Model (IDM)
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.
The 2022-2023 Ohio Question is rooted in Unit 4: How Have the Values and Principles Embodied in the Constitution Shaped American Institutions and Practices. 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 2022-2023 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 Cheyenne Oechsle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 485-3515 for more information
We the People Middle School Showcase
The 2023 Middle School We the People Showcase will be held Friday April 14, 2023 at the Thomas J. Moyer Judicial Center in Columbus, OH.
Interested teachers may contact Cheyenne Oechsle at email@example.com or (614) 485-3515 for more information.
“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 Cheyenne Oechsle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 485-3515 for more information.
Save the Date: Constitution Camp 2022 is Coming Soon!
Have you ever wanted to be a part of conversations among experts in law, political science, and history in some of the most pressing topics of our time? Do you want to learn more about how to facilitate those conversations with your own students?
Join OCLRE for our virtual Constitution Camp PD, a webinar series to learn from experts about important topics related to the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Understanding the Courts—all through an Ohio lens. Each Wednesday in November, OCLRE will release videos of scholar conversations about these topics, paired with teaching strategies for bringing those topics into your classroom. Information pertaining to session descriptions and scholars will be available in the coming weeks!
When: Every Wednesday in November
Where: Webinars will be posted to the members only page via OCLRE website*
Price: Free for OCLRE members of $10 for the full series for non-members
*Registration form for non-members will be posted in the coming weeks