We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is an instructional program on the history and principles of the American constitutional democracy and enhances the students’ understanding of government. At the same time, students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The program is based on curricular materials developed by the Center for Civic Education and nationally acclaimed by educators. It is aligned to the Ohio New 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 the constitutional principles. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
New: We the People Video Tutorial!
A We the People how-to for teachers and students, the video outlines We the People basics -- getting started, student benefits, hearing structure, scoring details, and more. Plus, watch sample student arguments in simulated hearings:
Thank you to West Carrollton High School We the People team and the Ohio State Bar Association.
The 2015 High School We the People State Competition will take place Friday, January 23, 2015 at the Ohio Statehouse.
The students prepare and “testify” before the simulated congressional hearing’s judging panel as expert witnesses on the Constitution.
- 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.
We the People Textbooks
We the People textbooks are available for the elementary, middle, and high school levels to aid in the teaching of the curriculum. Visit http://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 mulitiple digital formats. Visit http://new.civiced.org/resources/publications/ebooks to see the platform options and to order the e-books. For additional information regarding e-books, call the Center for Civic Education at 818-591-9321.
We the People Professional Development
The We the People curriculum allows students to consider current day relevance and application of founding documents in addition to studying the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Federalist Papers. The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing, providing opportunity for authentic assessment. Teachers of grades 4 – 12 are welcome at the professional development sessions and grade level appropriate materials and teaching strategies will be shared.
Seeing is believing. Teachers are invited be the guests of OCLRE to observe the state competition. Contact Tim Kalgreen (firstname.lastname@example.org; 614-485-3515) for more information.
If there is a strong interest in your school for We the People, OCLRE will provide a personalized professional development, provided there is a minimum of five attendees, one of whom is an OCLRE member. Contact Kate Strickland (email@example.com, 614-485-3501) for more information.
Digital copy of textbook available for competition judges
While participating students are encouraged to do outside research, all competition questions are based on the We the People Textbook. Whether you have judged in the past or this is your first time, a digital copy of the textbook is available to you. You may use the book as a reference for basic information about the unit you are judging. Click HERE to view the e-book. Viewing of the e-book is password-protected and the username/password is included in the judging confirmation letter. To view videos providing an in-depth look at how to use the e-book, click HERE. Contact Tim Kalgreen (firstname.lastname@example.org; 614-485-3515) if you need the username/password.