The Simulated Congressional Hearing
After studying the Constitution using "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" textbooks, participating classes may choose to compete in simulated congressional hearings. In a simulated congressional hearing each member of the class becomes an expert witness on one of the six units in the textbook and then testifies in small groups before a panel of judges acting as U.S. Congressional representatives.
To prepare for the competition, students are given a variety of questions ahead of time to prepare a four-minute opening statement. When the hearing begins, the judges announce the chosen question and the students are allowed to give their prepared testimony.
At the conclusion of the four minutes, the students must remove their notes and the judges are allowed to ask six minutes of follow-up questions.
Judges score students on their understanding of the question, their constitutional application, their reasoning in answering the question, their supportive evidence with historical and contemporary examples, their responsiveness to the question, and their participation.
At the end of the hearing, total scores are added up for each school competing to determine the state champion. At the high school level, the state and citywide champions represents Virginia and Washington, DC at the We the People National Finals.
2014 We the People Finals
2014 Virginia We the People Winners
1st: Maggie L. Walker Governor's School
1st: Rachel Carson Middle School
2014 DC We the People Winners
1st: Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy—Capitol Hill Campus
1st: National Cathedral School