The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about 'The Prince and the Pauper' with this lesson plan. They will study a text lesson, take a helpful follow-up quiz, and participate in two activities that will reinforce concepts they recently learned.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the plot of the story
  • Explain some of the themes that run throughout the tale
  • Name the differences between the lifestyles of the two boys


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Copies of the text lesson The Prince and the Pauper: Summary & Theme, along with the related lesson quiz
  • Internet access
  • Two preprinted worksheets, one with 15 terms involving Mark Twain and The Prince and the Pauper, and one with 15 related definitions, but in mixed order

Key Vocabulary

  • Beggar
  • Class differences
  • Disparity of wealth
  • Great Seal
  • Judging
  • King
  • London
  • Respect and reputation
  • Societal classes
  • Westminster Palace

Curriculum Standards


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone


  • Note: This can be used as an introduction to the book before reading it as a class or a stand alone lesson summarizing the book.
  • Inform your students they are going to be studying the classic tale The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Ask them if anyone has heard of the book or even read it already.
  • Review the key vocabulary terms.
  • Pass out copies of the text lesson The Prince and the Pauper: Summary & Theme
  • Read the introduction and the first section 'Switching Places.'
    • Who is the author of the tale?
    • What is the premise of the story?
    • When was it published?
    • In what century did the story take place?
  • Next read the section 'Summarizing The Prince and the Pauper.'
    • What is the prince's name?
    • What is the pauper's name?
    • Were they born the same day?
    • Do they look alike?
    • Are they related?
    • How was the prince treated at home?
    • How was the pauper treated at home?
  • Now read the section 'Arriving at the Palace.'
    • How did the boys meet for the first time?
    • Why does the prince confront the guard?
  • Next read the section 'Getting Kicked Out.'
    • What does the guard do to the prince?
    • What happens when the prince tells people he is not a beggar?
    • What happens when the prince goes to the pauper's home?
    • What happens to the beggar at the palace?
    • What does the king order to be kept a secret?
  • Now read the section 'Making a Break For It.'
    • How does the prince finally escape the pauper's home?
    • What events happen at the palace involving the pauper?
  • Next read the section 'Coming Clean.'
    • How do they confirm which boy is king and which boy is a pauper?
    • What becomes of the pauper?
  • Now read the section 'Themes of Mark Twain's Book.'
    • What are some of the themes that are represented in the story?
  • Lastly, read the section 'Lesson Summary', review the completed text lesson, and answer any questions of relevance posed by your students.
  • Have them take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their overall grasp of the material.

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