Welcome to We the People
Please use this page to learn more about We the People. We welcome K-12 schools to engage in meaningful civic education through the simulated congressional hearing process.
Volunteers! You are needed to enter into dialogue about current event and Constitutional issues.
About We the People
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. Middle and 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?
Elementary School Students focus on Five Areas of Stud of those listed above.
Register Your School Here
The 2023-2024 We the People Showcase & Competition Season Dates and Questions
2023-2024! All MCCE events are being planned for in person. The We the People National finals, run by the Center for Civic Education, is scheduled to be in person.
Districts – Half Day Events
- East Side District – Wednesday, November 15, 2023. Program Here!
- West Side District – Friday, November 17, 2023. Program Here!
- For districts only, each unit will be asked District Question #2. A consolidated Google Doc is here and a PDF is here – We The People District Hearing Question 2 .
- An updated scoring rubric will be posted here.
State Finals & Showcase – Full Day Event Logistics
- State Final Championship and Showcase – Tentatively – Friday, January 12, 2024. Hearings to begin at 9am with a school report time of 8-8:30 am.
- MCCE is finalizing the location. Location will still be in the Lansing/East Lansing area.
- An updated scoring rubric will be posted here.
- MCCE has determined which two questions will be asked for the state showcase and competition. The questions were chosen to try to provide the whole unit experience – so after analysis of District Question #2, the two questions that best complimented the state questions for the state showcase and competition.
- For a Google Doc version of the chosen questions is here and the PDF here – MCCE We the People State Hearing Questions 2023-24 .
- For the State Showcase – Questions are:
- Unit 1 – CCE Qs 2 & 3
- Unit 2 – CCE Qs 2 & 3
- Unit 3 – CCE Qs 1 & 2
- Unit 4 – CCE Qs 1 & 2
- Unit 5 – CCE Qs 2 & 3
- Unit 6 – CCE Qs 1 & 2
Center for Civic Education’s National Finals & Invitational
- We the People Nationals – April 13-15, 2024 (in person – DC and VA)
- We the People Invitational – May 11-12 (this is the middle school invitational – and is virtual)
Volunteers - Sign Up Here
Want to take a look at last year's information? 2022-2023 We the People Season and Event Details are Here!
Thank you to the Michigan State University College of Law for their generosity in hosting this event.
|8:30 a.m.||Volunteer Check-In Begins|
|9:30 a.m.||Schools May Report to Assigned Rooms|
|10:00 a.m.||Hearings Begin|
Student Lunch, 4th Floor
Volunteer Lunch, 3rd Floor
|2:50 p.m.||Hearings Conclude|
Judge & Facilitator Tabulation Time
Schools Move to 4th Floor Room
Civil Discourse Activity
Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Welch
State Showcase and Finals – The Michigan State University College of Law
Friday, January 6, 2023 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (ish) Volunteers may stay through the conclusion of the results – expected by 5:00 p.m. A final program will be emailed out Thursday evening and provided on site.
Thank you to the Michigan State University College of Law for their generosity in hosting this event on their beautiful campus. They have generously offered use of their College and are providing breakfast and lunch for all volunteers! Thank you to the College for supporting such an important event!
The College of Law is located at: 648 N Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824. There is a parking structure located immediately behind the building. Please read the details of where to park below.
- Facilitator and Timing Checklist – this checklist outlines the overall process and protocols that will aid in your role as a facilitator. This document should be comprehensive as a step-by-step guide to aid in facilitating the hearings.
- Time Cards – these you can use to help with displaying time remaining for schools during their hearings. Copies will be available along with stop watches will be available on site.
There is a parking structure immediately next to the parking structure for most vehicles. MSU classes will not have started yet providing greater ease in parking.
Cars. Throughout campus, complimentary parking is December 19, 2022 through January 8, 2023 in all designated pay-by-plate locations. Pay-by-plate locations can be found at https://police.msu.edu/parking-services/visitor-parking/.
For the Law School, most of the pay-by-plate parking is located on the bottom two levels of the law school parking structure.
Busses. If you are planning on arriving by bus, please email Kari Jenks at email@example.com. She is in the public safety department and can then provide further instructions.
Drop Off – Busses
In coordination with MSU, there is a small service alley between the Law Building and the Parking Structure.
Please know that we will have a morning of orientation on site beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. This will cover a few reminders for the day. Everyone is welcome to attend a more detailed orientation if you so desire. These are completely optional.
Those are scheduled for Wednesday, January 4.
12:00 – Judges
1:00 – Facilitators
5:00 – Facilitators
Each session is expected to last 45 minutes. We can go over any individual questions and processes at that time.
The Zoom Meeting Link is:
Meeting ID: 869 7554 2370
- Judge Checklist. This checklist outlines the overall judging process. It contains scoring processes and the step by step processes for the hearings. It also includes CCE’s scoring rubrics. Paper copies of the ballot will be available on site. We will provide computers as needed to enter your ballot information. You are welcome to bring your own device as well in order to enter scores electronically.
- The Questions with suggested follow up questions will be provided on site.
CALLING ALL 4th-12th GRADE EDUCATORS!!! 2023 Civics that Empowers All Students Program
Are you a 4th-12th grade teacher who wants greater knowledge of how to do We the People and Constitutional Dialogue? Please join us this summer to kick off a 3 year supported professional learning cohort of dedicated educators.
We would love to support buildings and districts who want to bring student civic voice and agency to the forefront. Please consider applying with teachers across grade bands within the social studies and literacy fields if you teach grades 4-8.