Lesson Title Constitutional Compromise Teacher

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Lesson Title

Constitutional Compromise


Chauncey McElheney

Grade Level


Duration of Lesson

90 Minutes

Lesson Topic

South Carolina’s role in the establishment of the U.S. Constitution

SC Standards and Indicators

Explain the role of South Carolina and its leaders in the Constitutional Convention, including their support of the Three-Fifths Compromise and the Commerce Compromise as well as the division among South Carolinians over the ratification of the Constitution.

Common Core Strategy(ies) addressed

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Academic Vocabulary

Constitutional Convention, U.S. Constitution, 3/5 Compromise, Commerce Compromise, Great Compromise, Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, Ratify

Lesson Materials Needed (attached at end of lesson)

SMART Lesson, Compromise Worksheet, Map Worksheet http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/maps/usa-blank_WMWTD.pdf

Map of the U.S. (Textbook), Colored Pencils, Rulers

Content Narrative

(What is the background information that needs to be taught to understand the context of the lesson? Be sure to include necessary citations)

Students should have some prior knowledge of the effects of the American Revolution in south Carolina, including the establishment of a new nation and a new state government and capital (3-3.3). Students have also compared how powers are shared and individual and states were represented under the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution and how the Bill of Rights and Constitution originally protected only the rights of white males (4-4.3).
Students should have a basic understanding of what the U.S. Constitution is and why it was created, including the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation, the concept of slavery included in representation, etc.
The focus of the lesson will be centered around the numerous compromises agreed to during the Philadelphia Conventions, specifically the 3/5 Compromise.

Lesson Set

Content Objective(s)

The SWBAT explain why or why not South Carolina supported the 3/5 Compromise, the Commerce Compromise, and the Great Compromise.

Literacy Objective(s)

Select or design appropriate forms of Social Studies resources to organize or evaluate social studies information

Lesson Importance

South Carolina played an important role in helping create the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the foundation of our democratic government. Issues over taxation, representation, and race, among others, are forever current in our political system.

Connections to prior and future learning

In U.S. History students will analyze how the dissatisfactions with the Articles of Confederation were addressed in the writing of the Constitution (USHC 1.4)

Anticipatory Set/ Hook (Engage)

George Washington letter to Marquis de Lafayette
Date: February 7, 1788
It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States . . . should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections.
Introduce the quote to the students.

Have one of the students read it out loud to the class.

Discuss the meaning of the primary source (quote).

If you choose, you can complete a “GIST” activity to allow the students to interact with the quote.


Choose the 6 most important words to complete a summary that gives us the "GIST" of the quote.

You can also ask the students why they chose the words that they did and what made them “important” to the quote itself.

Skill Development

Initial “explain” portion of the lesson. Introduce vocabulary, explain/demonstrate/model the skill required for the literacy objective, introduce content components.

The content portion is only a brief introduction; the bulk of the student learning will take place during the guided practice activity.

Introduce content components

Review and discuss the Cornell Notes from the previous class period (attached to the SMART Lesson)

I do”

Skill from objective


Triple Venn Diagram

(3/5 Compromise, Commerce Compromise, Great Compromise)

Using the Triple Venn Diagram as a graphic organizer, the teacher will compare and contrast the three compromises from the Constitutional Convention.
Information can be taken from the Cornell Notes or straight from the standard indicator.

Guided Practice

This is the inquiry portion of the lesson, student-centered & often cooperative learning strategies used, teacher acting as facilitator, also known as Explore.

We do”

Activity Description

Include student “explore” components and opportunities for them to explain their learning.

3/5 Compromise
Students will receive a copy of the attached 3/5 Compromise information sheet.
Students will also receive a copy of the Map Worksheet
Directions are also included in the SMART Lesson

  1. Use the handout and the U.S. Map in the very back of your textbook to label the states from the handout. Be sure to color the two groups two different colors. Color in the rest of the map and label them "non-states."

Northern States



New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York


Rhode Island

Southern States




North Carolina

South Carolina


  1. The students will use the 3/5 Compromise sheet to help them color in their map correctly.

  2. Pass out 3 different colors for each student to color each state in the appropriate category.

  3. The teacher may have to help students locating certain states (Delaware, Rhode Island, etc.)

  4. When they finish with the map, they can use the 3/5 Compromise sheet to complete a bar graph.

  5. Choose the three largest Southern states and the three largest Northern states.

  6. Create a bar graph in descending order (largest to smallest)

  7. Color in the Southern states and the Northern states the same colors you used on the map on the front.

  8. Using the map and the bar graph as evidence, answer the following question(s):

"Why would South Carolina support counting slaves towards representation? Why is representation important? What effect would it have on the state?

A sample finished Bar Graph is included in the SMART lesson.

Checking for Understanding-“Informal” Assessment

Think-Pair-Share Activity

“Why were there so many compromises during the Constitutional Convention?”

Step 1 : Think

You will be given 30-45 seconds to think about and answer a question.

Step 2: Pair

You will be given 30-45 seconds to share your thoughts with a partner.

Step 3: Share

Pairs will be asked to share their thoughts with the class.


Teacher will re-visit content and answer students’ questions developed during the Guided Practice component. Summarize the lesson, clarify content, and revisit content and literacy objectives.

Content Solidified

Question & Answer
The teacher will allow for students to answer clarifying questions.
Sample prompting questions for student participation/engagement

  1. What issue was at the root of the Great Compromise?

  2. What issue was the root of the 3/5 Compromise

  3. Why did SC not want the federal government regulating imports/exports?

Independent Practice

You Do”

Independent Practice (Essay)
Students will define and EXPLAIN why SC did or did not support the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Commerce Compromise, and the Great Compromise.

The students will complete a 3 paragraph essay (Honors: 5 paragraphs) using the above statement as a prompt.

For General Education classes, have them choose one they are most comfortable with (usually 3/5 compromise).

Their 3 paragraphs will include an introduction, body, and conclusion, with the body paragraph containing the explanation and details of the compromise and why SC did or did not support it.

Honors Levels: Have them write 5 paragraphs with an introduction, Body (3/5), Body (Commerce), Body (Great), and a conclusion.

You can use the following as a model/skeleton (included in SMART Lesson):

Introduction (3+)

1. Introduces the topic (Constitutional Convention)

2. Describes the purpose of the essay (Compromises)

3. Topic sentence that explains what will be in the body paragraph

Body (5+ sentences)

1. Define your compromise

2. Details that support your topic sentence

3. Concluding sentence that summarizes the details\

Conclusion (3+)

1. Restate the purpose of the essay

2. Summarize the essay

3. Restate the topic sentence

Summative/ “Formal” Assessment



Compromise Essay

Student essays will be evaluated based on the criteria established by the rubric.


During Lesson

SMART Lesson

ESOL students will be allowed to write a shortened length assignment

IEP’s will be followed

Directions will be printed and handed to ESOL &required IEP students



Compromise Essay

Student essays will be evaluated based on the criteria established by the rubric.


Lesson Reflection

(What went well in the lesson? What might you do differently the next time you teach it? Evaluate the success of the lesson)

The Venn Diagram helps the majority of my students have a visual representation of information that is organized with a purpose. We discussed the similarities and differences and the students could refer back to it during their writing assignment. The students enjoyed working with the map and bar graphs. In interest of time, I may choose not to color in the non-states. Some students had difficulty finding certain states and needed assistance, which put them behind the rest of the class. Adding coloring in the rest of the country and the students would not finish the assignment in time. When several of the students had finished the map, I had all the students stop and begin the bar graph. They were able to continue the map after they had completed the graph. The students were allowed the last 15 minutes to plan, review, and research their writing assignment. The rest they were to finish over the weekend for homework.

Materials Needed for Lesson

Lesson Materials and Handouts

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