Constitution Day celebration includes trivia with a focus on U.S. history

YORK, Pa. -- Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 men on Sept. 17, 1787, and celebrates the birthday of the government of the United States of America. Penn State York will celebrate Constitution Day on Monday, Sept. 17, with the fifth annual WE ARE the People trivia event at noon in the community room of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. The event is part of the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, but anyone can attend.

“We're glad that Constitution Day falls on a Monday this year so we can hold it in conjunction with the Student Government Association meeting,” said Barbara Eshbach, head librarian at the Lee R. Glatfelter Library at Penn State York and coordinator of the Constitution Day event. “As we have done in the past four years, we will be using clickers and asking questions from the civics portion of the U.S. naturalization test, which is appropriate since the actual designation of the day is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” she said.

Those in attendance will be given a clicker and then try their best to answer 20 questions offered in a PowerPoint presentation. These questions are taken from the civics portion of the Naturalization Test to become an American citizen. So as not to embarrass those who may not be up on American history, using the clickers provides a way for participants to remain anonymous. Participating in this activity can be an enlightening experience for participants as they realize that immigrants need to know this information in order to become a U.S. citizen.

Do you know how many amendments the Constitution has? The answer is 27, and very few people get the answer right according to Eshbach.

There are 100 questions in the naturalization test, and during the naturalization interviews, applicants are asked up to 10 questions from that list. They must answer six questions correctly to pass the civics test.   Participants in the trivia contest will keep track of how many of the 20 questions they answer correctly, with the hope of answering at least 12 right, which would correspond to the same percentage of questions actual applicants have to answer correctly in order to pass the test.

The current national pass rate is 91 percent, and following the group’s participation, the success of the participants is revealed. Eshbach notes that some years campus participants beat the national pass rate, and some years they do not.

Random prizes will be  given out, and participants don’t have to answer correctly to win. Those who might like to study for the trivia event can visit this website where the questions and answers are available.

This civic and social literacy event is offered as part of the Penn State York library ConnectED program.  ConnectED events are based on one of the five literacies of PA Forward, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association.

Last Updated September 12, 2018