Lesson 3.2 Constitutional Convention

Lesson Goals

  • SS.8.15B Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. R SS.8.4D Analyze the issues of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, including the Great Compromise and the Three-Fifths Compromise.
    SS.8.15C Identify colonial grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence and explain how those grievances were addressed in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

  • SS.8.21C Summarize a historical event in which compromise resulted in a peaceful resolution.

  • SS.8.29B Analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and- effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions.

  • SS.8.29D Identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference which influenced the participants.

ISTE Standards

  • 6c Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.


Lesson  Prep

Watch: Bird's Eye View video before moving on. 

Watch: The Constitutional Convention video from Khan Academy and take notes as you watch. The video is packed with important information we will debate in class so make your notes useful. (Create a Google Doc in your Ebinder titled "3.2 Consitutional Convention Notes.)

Step Overview & Directions


Your first task is to watch the Bird's Eye View video that introduces the main idea of Lesson 3.2. Then, watch the Khan Academy video. This is a highly tested topic and a really important topic in our nation's history since this convention created the government plan that we still use today. There is so much to absorb in the Khan video so don't rush through it. Take good notes. Most importantly, pay close attention to the different sides in the debates such as small vs big states, slave states vs free states. It is critical that you understand why the Constitution ended up the way it did.


Class Discussion

Read: The Constitutional Convention from Khan Academy.

Prepare to Discuss:

  • If you had been a delegate at the Constitutional Convention, would you have supported the New Jersey Plan or the Virginia Plan?

  • Can you think of anything the delegates could have done to ensure the ratification of the Constitution without perpetuating the institution of slavery?

  • In your own words, describe the character of the federal government as created at the Constitutional Convention.

Step Overview & Directions


We are going to read this article together and discuss the questions at the end of the article (and posted to the right). We are also going to conduct our our debates over the topics mentioned in the article. You will be asked to argue on behalf of various perspectives, so again, make sure you know the topic AND the competing views.


Class Simulation

WatchDoes your vote count? The Electoral College explained - Christina Greer

Complete: Electoral College Questionnaire & Writing 

Simulation Questions

  • How should states be represented in the new government?

  • Should slaves be counted as part of a state’s population?

  • How should the national executive be elected?

Step Overview & Directions


We will read the article from Khan Academy to review the information and address any questions you have over the topic.


After watching the video about the Electoral College the class will be divided up into groups and we will conduct our own Constitutional Convention. You and your fellow delegates will be responsible for making arguments on behalf of your constituents. Are you a big state? Small state? Slave state? Do you fear a strong national government? How would those beliefs effect your views on the new government you are creating in the Constitution? 

Lastly, form your own opinion about the Electoral College by completing the Questionnaire and then supporting your opinion by completing the essay prompt.

Individual Practice


Step Overview & Directions


Pretend you are a textbook author and you are tasked with creating a study companion to your textbook. You must create reading check questions to be placed throughout the section that challenges the reader to both read and understand the topics covered in your book. Then, at the end, you must create a five question multiple choice test and an essay prompt. The questions and essay prompt should be thought-provoking questions that demonstrate understanding and context. They can NOT be simple questions that can be easily answered with a definition. 

ReadSection 12 - The Constitutional Convention, pages 162-165, 167-170, 172-173

Create: a Google Doc and title it "3.2 Textbook Companion Activity." Move it to your Ebinder.


  • Create THREE Reading Check Questions from the readings.

  • Create FIVE multiple choice questions with answer choices and a key. Do not simply copy and paste text from the textbook and make it a question. Think of an original question using the textbook as inspiration.

  • Create an essay prompt that could be answered using the textbook. You do not have to write the essay, just the essay question.


Lesson Resources



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Detailed Timeline of events surrounding Shays' Rebellion from shaysrebellion.stcc.edu

Primary Sources


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Student Work


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