We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution
The Michigan Center for Civic Education has directed the We the People…the Citizen and the Constitution program in Michigan since the program began in 1987 as a special program to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Developed by the Center for Civic Education, the primary goal of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence, responsibility, appreciation, and enthusiasm for the Constitution and our societal issues among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students.
We the People engages students in a curriculum designed to foster understanding of the institutions of American democracy, including the Constitution with a specialization in the Bill of Rights. Culminating activities feature a simulated congressional hearing in which students “testify” before a panel of volunteer attorneys, educators, and civic leaders. A prepared response and a conversation between students and their panel of judges highlights the best of both student-centered pedagogy and Constitutional scholarship.
During the State Finals, students have opportunities to address panels and testify on critical Constitutional questions of the day. Judges then engage our young Constitutional scholars in dialogue on the content, history, and current applications of the Constitution.
What are the areas of specialization?
We the People is a competition in the format of a simulated congressional hearing. High School classes present testimony and answer questions about historical, political, and Constitutional issues. Students are expected to be generalists in overall Constitutional knowledge and specialists in one of six units of in-depth study. Those are:
- Unit 1: What are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System?
- Unit 2: How Did the Framers Create the Constitution?
- Unit 3: How has the Constitution been Changed to Further the Ideals Contained in the Declaration of Independence?
- Unit 4: How have the Values and Principles Embodied in the Constitution Shaped American Institutions and Practices?
- Unit 5: What Rights does the Bill of Rights Protect?
- Unit 6: What Challenges Might Face American Constitutional Democracy in the Twenty-First Century?
The 2020-2021 We the People Showcase & Competition Season
All events are virtual for 2020-2021. This includes district, state, and national We the People events.
- East Side District – Wednesday, November 18
- West Side District – Friday, November 20
State Finals & Showcase
- State Finals & Championship – Friday, January 8, 2021
Center for Civic Education’s National Finals & Invitational
- We the People Nationals – April 23-27, 2021
- We the People Invitational – April 30-May 3, 2021
2020-2021 We the People School Resources & Information
We the People Classroom Resources
Please visit the resource page here for additional We the People classroom resources.