Missouri Compromise Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson to teach your students about the important document, the Missouri Compromise. Students will then read and analyze the document, determining key ideas and analyzing its historical impact.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • state the key ideas found in the Missouri Compromise
  • explain the historical significance of the Missouri Compromise
  • cite text evidence to support analysis of the Missouri Compromise


1 hour


  • Printed copies of the Missouri Compromise divided into sections, one for each student
  • Chart paper
  • Target graphic organizer

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


  • Begin by watching our lesson Missouri Compromise of 1820: Terms, Summary & Definition.
  • Pause at 1:09. Discuss:
    • How did representation in Congress work during this time period?
    • Why did gaining new territory cause problems?
    • Why was it important to have senators' representation in Congress?
  • Show the remainder of the lesson. Ask:
    • What was the main idea of the Missouri Compromise?
    • Why was this important?
    • Do you think the Missouri Compromise was a good idea? Why or why not?
    • What happened to the Missouri Compromise?
    • Who were the opponents of the decision to overturn the Missouri Compromise?


  • Students will work in groups to analyze sections of the Missouri Compromise using a target graphic organizer.
  • Divide students into groups. Give each group a section of the Missouri Compromise and explain that they will find the main idea of the section and write it in the bulls-eye section of the target organizer. They will use the rings to record thoughts and textual evidence that supports the main idea.
  • Circulate the room to scaffold and support learning.
  • When students complete their organizers, have them transfer information to chart paper and present to class.
  • Share thinking and ideas. Invite students to evaluate and analyze other groups' work.
  • For homework, have students write a paragraph imagining what our country would be like if the Missouri Compromise was not overturned.


  • Differentiate the lesson by providing a word/definition bank for struggling students. Consider using mixed ability groups to support all learners.
  • Have students read the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Compare and contrast to the Missouri Compromise.
  • Research the history of the Republican Party.
  • Provide students with a map. Discuss the impact of the geographical changes the Missouri Compromise made and why citizens opposed it.

Related Lessons

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.