The We the People program’s culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students “testify” before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
Find resource materials to help conduct simulated congressional hearings in your classroom. Check out the links below.
View a collection of current and past hearing questions at all grade levels and at congressional district, state and national levels.
Competitions & The National Finals
In addition to the hearings that take place at the school level, many teams choose to participate in the optional Congressional District, State, and National Competitions. These competitions are a wonderful way to reward teams who have put in the hard work and effort into their We The People Projects. It provides opportunities for their parents, grandparents, neighbors, and others who support them to see their hard work in action and cheer on their efforts. Consult your We the People District Coordinator for more information.
The National Invitational takes the form of a simulated congressional hearing. During the hearings, groups of students testify as constitutional experts before panels of judges acting as congressional committees scoring the groups through a performance-based assessment. Each class is divided into six groups based on the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution high school and middle school textbooks. Each hearing begins with a four-minute opening statement by students and is followed by a six-minute period of follow-up questioning during which judges probe students’ depth of knowledge, understanding, and ability to apply constitutional principles. Classes have the opportunity to compete or showcase at the event. The format provides students an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles while providing the judges with an excellent means of assessing students’ knowledge and application to historical and current constitutional issues.
High School Classes qualify to attend the National Finals by participating in a simulated congressional hearing at the district or state levels during the upcoming school year.
Middle School Classes qualify to attend the National Invitational by participating in a simulated congressional hearing at the school, district, or state levels during the upcoming school year.