Social Studies Week 15: 12/9-12/13


We started off by reviewing the basics of the 3 branches of the national government. Emphasis was placed on several of the “checks and balances” built into the duties of the various branches. It was emphasized that arriving at this plan for government was the primary focus of most of the debates at the convention for which students are preparing.

We then read together and discussed a short reading that outlines some of the key debates we will hold in class on day one of the mock convention. Convention overview reading We then discussed the Virginia and New Jersey plans in more depth, specifically why someone from a larger state would favor the Virginia, and smaller states the New Jersey. Some students were still unsure of which plan they favored, so I projected the following document:

Large States/States that Favored the Virginia or Large State Plan
( )=the number of delegates at the Constitutional Convention
Maryland (5 delegates)
Massachusetts (4 delegates)
New York (3 delegates)
North Carolina (5 delegates)*
Pennsylvania (8 delegates)
Virginia (7 delegates)
Small States/States that Favored the New Jersey or Small State Plan
( )=the number of delegates at the Constitutional Convention
Connecticut (3 delegates)
Delaware (5 delegates)
Georgia (4 delegates)*
New Hampshire (2 delegates)
New Jersey (5 delegates)
South Carolina (4 delegates)
*Note: (1) Rhode Island boycotted the Constitutional Convention.
(2) In general, states that preferred the Virginia or Large State Plan were those that had a
population of 250,000 or more. North Carolina and Georgia were more supportive of
the Small State Plan, but hoped if counted, their slave population would make them
in line with the Large State Plan.


Students then worked on developing and refining their ideas on these issues, continued to research both plans, and began composing their position statements on this topic. Students also used this chart FourStatePlans (1) to help better understand the plans.

The following additional resources were also shared with students:

James Madison’s daily convention notes (challenging reading here….for advanced students primarily):


Also, the three downloadable document sets from the NEH website, available at the following address, were printed and made available for student use. It contains some detailed primary source quotes from many of the delegates, plus advice and examples of how to turn them into position statements that could be used at our mock convention.



HW- Write/Refine 1-2 position statements (for the delegate portfolio part 2)

Students were also reminded (this was announced early last week) that their warm-ups will be collected next week (Nov. 18 or 19, depending on their schedule). I will collect their entire social studies notebook. They need to make sure they have all of the warm-ups, that they are all together in the same section of the notebook, and that each entry contains the date, warm-up #, the entire question, and a response that reflects the 5 or so minutes I give them each day. Students can get missing warm-ups from any other MS Student. All 4 classes have the same warm-ups and they are all numbered the same. Being absent does not excuse students from making up missed warm-ups.



We discussed a number of the resolutions here: Madison’s Resolutions and why certain delegates may or may not support some of them. Students spent part of the latter part of class contemplating (some of) these and developing position statements for part 2 of the delegate portfolio.

We then discussed the 3/5 compromise and why certain delegates would argue how they did on it.

We then discussed the issue of slavery and what types of arguments might be made on either side. Some of delegates to our mock convention (uncomfortably) need to argue in favor of slavery, so they took some time to draft position statements for that part of the convention, and to discuss the ideas together. Abolitionists worked through their own arguments and had some time to discuss this together.

HW – Complete 1-2 position statements for part 2 of the delegate portfolio 


We discussed parliamentary procedure, reviewed the order of debates and issues for the convention, and made our paper wigs.

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