The Great Compromise Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Most students have had to learn to compromise with others in one way or another. This lesson looks at The Great Compromise - an event back in 1787 during which members of the United States government had to learn to compromise.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • Define The Great Compromise
  • Analyze the events of The Great Compromise


60-75 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.


Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


Vocabulary Words

  • compromise
  • Founding Fathers
  • representative


  • Begin by introducing the lesson.
    • Talk about the word compromise and ask students to share examples of situations in which they have had to compromise.
  • Read and discuss the lesson description.
  • Read and discuss the first section of the lesson titled ''Making a Compromise.''
    • What is a compromise?
  • Next, begin reading through the lesson itself by starting with the section ''Constitutional Convention.'' Discuss:
    • Where was the Constitutional Convention held?
    • Why was it held?
    • Who were the Founding Fathers?
    • What is a representative?
    • Why were the representatives not getting along during the convention?
  • Read the next section, ''Figuring Out Representation.'' Discuss:
    • What was one of the main reasons the representatives were arguing?
    • What was the Virginia Plan?
    • What was the New Jersey Plan?
    • How do the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan differ?
    • Which plan do you think is the most fair?
  • Move on and read the next section, ''Great Compromise.'' Discuss:
    • Who was Roger Sherman and what did he do to help solve the dilemma about representatives?
    • What were the two houses of Congress?
    • How many senators does each state have in the Senate?
    • How is the number of representatives from each state determined for the House of Representatives?
    • How many representatives are there currently in the House of Representatives?
    • Why do you think they called the plan The Great Compromise?
  • Finish up by reading the final section, ''Lesson Summary.'' Review:
    • Where did the Constitutional Convention take place?
    • Who were the Founding Fathers?
    • What is a representative?
    • What was The Great Compromise?
  • Address any questions or additional comments that students might have.
  • To check for understanding, have students complete the quiz. Review the answers as a class.


To review and practice, guide students through the following activity.

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