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We the People...Project Citizen

A portfolio-based civic education project for middle school classes

We the People... PROJECT CITIZEN is a civic education program for grades 5-8 that promotes competent and responsible participation in state and local government. It actively engages students in learning how to monitor and influence public policy and encourages civic participation among students, their parents, and members of the community.

As a class project, students work together to identify and study a public policy issue, eventually developing an action plan for implementing their policy. The final product is a portfolio displaying each group's work.

In a culminating activity the class presents its portfolio in a simulated legislative hearing, demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of how public policy is formulated. Classes may also be able to enter their portfolios in a local competition with other classes. Local winners submit their portfolios for a statewide competition, and state winners go on to be evaluated in the PROJECT CITIZEN national finals.


We the People... PROJECT CITIZEN focuses on the role of state and local governments in the American federal system. The curriculum involves an entire class of students in a series of structured, cooperative learning activities which are guided by their teachers and adult volunteers. Working in cooperative teams, the class learns to interact with their government through a five step process that includes:

  • Identifying a public policy problem in the community
  • Gathering and evaluating information on the problem
  • Examining and evaluating solutions
  • Selecting or developing a proposed public policy
  • Developing an action plan<.LI> Students' work is displayed in a class portfolio containing a display section and a documentation section.

The Textbook

We the People... PROJECT CITIZEN is a process oriented instructional guide designed for use in grades 5-8. The teacher's guide includes directions for leading the class through the five step process and developing a class portfolio. It also contains instructions and evaluation procedures for conducting a simulated legislative hearing.