Step-by-Step Alignment – Middle School “Constitutional Issues” & We The People



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Middle School

For the state CBA your students will have to write a personal position paper on a constitutional issue and argue that the position is worthy of thoughtful consideration using evidence and data from the research. Through the We the People…congressional hearing model, your students will gain the content information needed and the classroom discussing prompts necessary to complete this task with competency beyond the state rubric requirement.


Step-by-Step Alignment – Middle School “Constitutional Issues” & We The People

For the CBA students are required to write a persuasive essay including:

In the We the People…textbook and congressional hearing model your students can:

  • A clear position on the issue that addresses the conflict between individual rights and the common good.

  • Formulate an essential question on a constitutional issue through the exploratory nature of the text. For example students will learn the five characteristics of constitutional government (see lesson 3 page 12 – 14) and then investigate the complexities and limitations of our constitutional rights (see page 100 Problem Solving Activity).

  • A discussion of how the issue relates to other democratic ideals and/or constitutional principles.

  • Throughout the text, students are asked to participate in small group discussions on the balance between rights and common good helping them to develop solid reasoning and arguments (See page 9 Problem Solving Activity).

  • A discussion of the specific groups’ points of view related to constitutional rights.

  • Explicit references to several sources that provide details and examples and/or support your position.

Through the use of the Congressional Hearing Culminating activity, students are able to take their research, create an original essay which satisfies the state CBA writing requirement and present their ideas. During the hearings, students work in groups to present a four minute written speech responding to an essential question. (For the purposes of the CBA students could create a speech by combining their individual writings.) After presenting the speech, students work in groups to respond to six minutes of follow up questions.

The Congressional Hearing is an essential element of the We the People… program because of the high level of learning which takes place during the hearing preparation. Student learning will be enhanced through the complete application of this process.



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For We the People…materials and teacher training opportunities:



Contact Kathy Hand 206-248-3463; www.civiced-wa.org.



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