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We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution
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This nationally acclaimed civic education instructional program enhances students' understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy while allowing students to discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The primary goal of "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation's elementary and secondary students. The design of the instructional program, including the innovative culminating activity, is what makes the program a success.

The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students "testify" before a panel of judges. At the high school level, schools may participate in a State Competition, held in December, performing units before a panel of notable governmental and political leaders. The top performing high school team is eligible to attend the National Competition in Washington, D.C.

We the People Program Components
Students engage in rigorous study of the Constitution, participating in interactive lessons and studying current issues. They build skills and knowledge consistent with State Social Studies recommendations.

Units of study:

  • philosophical foundations of the American political system,
  • framers’ creation of the Constitution,
  • how the Constitution has changed,
  • the roles of the three branches of government,
  • rights, and
  • challenges we face in the 21st century.

Students participate in an engaging, simulated congressional hearing in which they "testify” before a mock congressional committee of other students or volunteer attorneys, educators and civic leaders.

(Optional culminating activity) Teams of secondary school students participate in a statewide We the People Showcase and Competition. In a simulated congressional hearing, each team explores important questions related to the content of one unit of study.

A Program Rich in History
Created in 1987 in celebration of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, over 28 million students across the country have participated in this innovative and acclaimed program.

A Program Proven to Work
From the U.S. Department of Education, see the We the People Evaluation Summary.

Culminating Hearings
We the People encourages elementary, middle and secondary teachers to conduct simulated hearings at the classroom, school and community level. Participating teachers tell us that participating in the We the People Simulated Hearing provides students with a rigorous, active learning experience.

Watch an elementary hearing video
Watch a high school hearing video

New -- The Center for Civic Education has launched a partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to distribute ebook editions of We the People: the Citizen & the Constitution. The We the People enhanced ebook features hundreds of videos, photos, fundamental documents and interactive exercises that give students a rich, multimedia environment for learning about the Constitution and the contemporary issues that impact today’s learners. Each lesson also includes a built-in optional teacher/guide and audio narration. For more information about the e-book or to find out how to order, click here.

We the People - Elementary

The third edition of We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution for upper elementary students explores the history and principles of constitutional democracy in the United States. The text features a new section on the Electoral College, updated material on when it is fair and reasonable to limit free speech, and new and updated four-color graphics. The teacher's edition includes culminating performance assessment materials and a bibliography of children's literature.

View sample lessons
View the table of contents

We the People - Middle School


We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution for middle grades is composed of 6 units and 29 lessons that use critical-thinking exercises, cooperative-learning practices and a culminating authentic performance assessment to teach the history and principles of constitutional democracy.

View sample lessons

We the People - High School

The We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution high school textbook consists of 6 units with 39 lessons addressing principles of constitutional democracy and a culminating authentic performance assessment. Each set includes 30 student books and a teacher's edition that provides materials to enrich classroom learning. The We the People textbook is supported by a Resource Center.

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Program Information

We the People State Showcase
Friday, January 13, 2017
University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa

State Showcase Rules

State Showcase Questions

Showcase Tips for Students

Instructions for Judges 

Judge Scoring Criteria 

Judge Scoring Guide 

Judge Sample Score Sheet



The Iowa State Bar Association • 625 East Court Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309
Ph. (515) 243-3179 • Fax (515) 243-2511