Logo: Project Citizen

Frequently Asked Questions

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution promotes a greater understanding of our constitutional democracy, its institutions, and its fundamental principles and values. The curriculum develops the skills needed to become effective and responsible citizens. It increases students’ understanding of and willingness to use democratic processes to make decisions and manage public and private conflicts. The curriculum builds around civic values and concepts fundamental to the theory and practice of democratic citizenship in the United States.
The fundamental hypothesis of the We the People curriculum is that education can increase a person’s capacity and inclination to act knowledgeably, effectively, and responsibly. It follows that educational institutions must help students improve their capacity to make intelligent choices for themselves—to learn how to think rather than what to think.

We the People Curriculum

How is the Curriculum Organized?
The curriculum covers the origins of the Constitution, its historical development, its functioning over 235 years, and the contemporary challenges it faces in the 21st century.
The student text divides into units of study, and each unit subdivides into individual lessons.
How Does the Curriculum Breakdown by Grade Level?
What’s In the Student Book?
  1. Lesson Purpose – This introductory paragraph gives students a glimpse of this lesson's material.
  2. Lesson Objectives – These statements provide students with an awareness of what they should know and be able to do upon completion of the lesson.
  3. Terms to Understand – Each lesson begins with a list of essential words and concepts. Students may utilize quizzes – such as multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, or correctly using the term or concept in a sentence – to test their knowledge of the terms and concepts.
  4. Critical Thinking Exercises – This feature offers another opportunity to assess students’ capacity to develop and defend an argument and to support it with evidence.
  5. What Do You Think? – This feature can assess student understanding as the lesson progresses. The questions in this segment help teachers check for understanding, conduct a class discussion, or, more formally, have students prepare essays or write position papers.
  6. Reviewing and Using the Lesson – This feature can be used as a quiz at the end of each lesson to evaluate whether students have learned the material covered in the lesson. Or it can be used as a homework assignment to review the material covered.
  7. Activities – Found immediately after Reviewing and Using the Lesson, this section provides optional activities to substitute, support, or enrich the lesson. 
  8. Reference Section – Found at the end of the student book, it contains significant documents often used in the lessons: For example, the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution.
How Do I Use the Textbook?

Simulated Congressional Hearings

What is a Simulated Congressional Hearing?
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 can evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
Students act as expert witnesses and "testify" their constitutional knowledge in the format of simulated congressional hearings. A volunteer judging panel- comprised of adults from the community will hear the students present, ask follow-up questions, and offer feedback.
How Do Students Prepare for a Simulated Congressional Hearing?
What Questions Do Students Answer for the Simulated Congressional Hearing?
How Does a Hearing Work?
Do I Have to Participate in a State Competition to Use the Simulated Congressional Hearing?
What If I Do Want to Compete?

The National Finals

What are the National Finals?
Prepare to be amazed as high school students from across the nation showcase their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and the American government. This isn't your typical competition; it's an intellectual showdown that inspires critical thinking and civic engagement.
Now in its fifth decade, the National Finals of We the People bring together students from high schools nationwide, adding an exciting finale to their educational journey. The competition format follows the Simulated Congressional Hearing model, the authentic assessment tool of the We the People curriculum.
The competition typically features 48 teams, each representing their respective states. Winners of state competitions determine the final lineup of these competitive teams, and they’re usually known by mid-February.
Where and When Are the Finals Held?
Who Attends the We the People National Finals?
What Are the Eligibility Requirements to Compete?
Can You Volunteer at the National Finals?
Is it Possible to Sponsor the National Finals?

Have More Questions?

Watch our great We the People Bootcamp professional learning webinars! Or you can contact us via email, and we'll happily answer your questions.

CCE LogoThis site is brought to you by the Center for Civic Education. The Center's mission is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. The Center has reached more than 30 million students and their teachers since 1965. Learn more.

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